Taupo in the running for the Volcano Cup

Anak Krakatau volcano spews smoke and lava in the Sunda strait
Anak Krakatau volcano spews smoke and lava in the Sunda strait. Photo credit: Reuters

Which volcano is the best? Fans of the lava-spewing killers are trying to find out once and for all.

Over the past few weeks a knockout competition has been taking place on social media site Twitter, under the hashtag #VolcanoCup.

Thousands of geologists, science fans and people who just like things that burn have been voting for their favourite fiery mountains and calderas.

New Zealand is represented in the informal competition by Taupo, which last blew around 1800 years ago.

The goal is not just to entertain, but educate.

"Volcano Cup followers have learnt that Taupo has had two massive eruptions in the last 26,000 years, throwing ash, pumice and gassy magma over huge areas of the central North Island, leaving behind big holes where Lake Taupo now sits," volcanologist Brad Scott wrote on GeoNet's website on Friday.

New Zealand's entry has steamrolled its opposition so far like a lahar, but as of Friday afternoon is looking likely to lose to rival supervolcano Krakatau.

After nearly 1500 votes in the grand final, the Indonesian entry had 53 percent of the vote, ahead of Taupo's 47.

"I am on the edge of my seat watching the voting results move back and forward between Taupo and Krakatau," tweeted Volcano Cup organiser, Dr Janine Krippner, a Kiwi volcanologist doing her post-doctorate in the US.

Krakatau last blew in 1883, one of the most destructive eruptions in recorded history - but smaller than the Taupo eruption of 26,500 years ago.

"The 1883 eruptions are among the most violent volcanic events in recorded history, exploding out approximately 25 km3 of rock, creating tsunamis and leading to the loss of over 36,000 lives," said Mr Scott.

"That is impressive, but it is still no Taupo. Taupo is more active, has had larger eruptions and is far prettier."

Voting ends early on Saturday morning.