Volcanoes, just like many other regions, are named/called after a certain someone or something. But what makes it more interesting, is that the Romans came up with the name. Having a strong belief in what the underworld consisted of, such a term seemed to be the logical choice.
Centuries ago, individuals believed in many gods such as Zeus, Poseidon, and Hates. Since they felt they were in control of the world, they lived life to please them. In a sense, they were afraid to anger them; knowing they would be punished for doing so. The three deities mentioned above were the most well known, but there were also others who were rarely mentioned; one whose name hints volcano.
Vulcan was often called the god of fire. He was the son of Jupiter (Zeus) and Juno (Hera). The Romans believed that he was a blacksmith who created weapons (for the other gods) from the fires under the island called Hiera; now referred to as Vulcano. This island has an area of 21 square kilometers and rises to a height of 499 meters; over five football fields in elevation. Of course, Vulcano was not merely a island, since it had many centers of volcanic activity.
Located in the Mediterranean sea, the lava (“fire”) of this formation could be easily seen by the residents of Sicily. Sicilians and near Romans grew to respect this island and began associating similar formations with the same name. However, over time, the word Vulcano gradually changed to the word volcano; a one letter difference.
Present day, we attribute this name to the other 1,500+ present on Earth’s surface. The largest being called Mauna Loa (“Long Island”) in Hawaii; which is 4,169 meters above sea level and 9,000 meters above sea floor. Volcano is spelled and pronounced differently in many languages: Vulkan in Dutch, Lua Pele in Hawaiin, Huoshan in Chinese.
Marshak, Stephen. Essentials of Geology; Third Edition. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2009.