The Highest Volcanoes In North America

Pico de Orizaba, in Mexico, is the highest volcano in North America.
Pico de Orizaba, in Mexico, is the highest volcano in North America.

While the volcanoes in South America ranks as the tallest in the world, North America also contains numerous volcanoes that have significant elevations. All 10 of North America's tallest volcanoes are located in the two countries: Mexico and the United States (US).

Mexico's volcanoes are located in either the Sierra Nevada or the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, within the central-southern part of the country. Many of these volcanoes are snow-capped, and those living on the high plateaus of Mexico, from where these volcanoes rise, can easily see their stunning snow-capped peaks on clear days.

The tallest volcanoes in the United States are located in the non-contiguous northern state of Alaska. In fact, 80% of the country's volcanoes are located in Alaska. The state contains approximately 40 active volcanoes, as well as many others that are potentially active. Most of Alaska's active volcanoes are located along the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands and belong to the Ring of Fire

The Five Highest Volcanoes in North America

1. Pico de Orizaba

Pico de Orizaba is a stratovolcano and the highest mountain in Mexico, as well as North America's tallest volcano. The volcano has an elevation of 5,636 m above sea level and is located on the border between the Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz, towards the eastern edge of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The volcano last erupted in the 19th century and is currently in a dormant state. Pico de Orizaba is also the world's second most prominent volcanic peak, behind Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

2. Popocatépetl

North America's second-highest volcano, Popocatépetl, is an active stratovolcano that straddles the border between the Mexican states of Puebla, Morelos, and the State of Mexico. Additionally, it is situated in the eastern part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, approximately 70 km southeast of Mexico City, and has an elevation of 5,426 m above sea level. Popocatépetl contained glaciers in the recent past, but lost them to climate change and increased volcanic activity. The volcano is currently active and has erupted continuously since 2004.

3. Iztaccihuatl

Iztaccíhuatl is Mexico's third-highest peak, as well as North America's third-highest volcano, with an elevation of 5,230 m. Iztaccíhuatl is a dormant volcano located along the border of the Mexican states of Puebla and the State of Mexico. The volcano's name means "White woman" in the Nahuatl language, and refers to Iztaccíhuatl's four snow-capped peaks that are said to represent the head, chest, knees, and feet of a sleeping lady. A high altitude mountain pass, Paso de Cortés, connects the Iztaccihuatl to Popocatépetl.

4. Mount Bona

North America's fourth-highest volcano, Mount Bona, is located in the US state of Alaska. The 5,040 m ice-capped stratovolcano is part of the Saint Elias Mountains, situated in the eastern part of the state, and is the fifth-highest independent peak in the United States. Glaciers and icefields cover nearly the entire massif and feed the Klutlan Glacier that flows into Canada's Yukon Territory. The last volcanic eruption of Mount Bona occurred in 847 AD.

5. Mount Blackburn

Mount Blackburn is the fifth highest volcano in North America, with an elevation of 4,996 m. It is an eroded, old shield volcano located in Alaska's Wrangell Mountains, and is the highest peak in the range. Mount Blackburn is located within the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, and the top of the volcano is covered by icefields and glaciers that feed the Kennicott Glacier.

List of the 10 Highest Volcanoes in North America

RankVolcanoElevation Above Sea Level (m)Location
1Pico de Orizaba 5,636Puebla and Veracruz (Mexico)
2Popocatépetl5,426Puebla, Morelos, and State of Mexico (Mexico)
3Iztaccihuatl5,230Puebla and State of Mexico (Mexico)
4Mount Bona 5,040Alaska (United States)
5Mount Blackburn4,996Alaska (United States)
6Mount Sanford4,949Alaska (United States)
7Mount Churchill4,766Alaska (United States)
8Nevado de Toluca2,210State of Mexico (Mexico)
9Malinche4,461Tlaxcala and Puebla (Mexico)
10Mount Rainier4,392Washington (United States)

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