Mount Tambora

Mount Tambora

Overview
Mount Tambora is an active stratovolcano
Stratovolcano
A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

, also known as a composite volcano, on the island of Sumbawa
Sumbawa
Sumbawa is an Indonesian island, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, and Sumba further to the southeast. It is in the province of West Nusa Tenggara....

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. Sumbawa is flanked both to the north and south by oceanic crust
Oceanic crust
Oceanic crust is the part of Earth's lithosphere that surfaces in the ocean basins. Oceanic crust is primarily composed of mafic rocks, or sima, which is rich in iron and magnesium...

, and Tambora was formed by the active subduction zone beneath it. This raised Mount Tambora as high as 4300 m (14,107.6 ft), making it formerly one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago. After a large magma chamber
Magma chamber
A magma chamber is a large underground pool of molten rock found beneath the surface of the Earth. The molten rock in such a chamber is under great pressure, and given enough time, that pressure can gradually fracture the rock around it creating outlets for the magma...

 inside the mountain filled over the course of several decades, volcanic activity reached a historic climax in the super-colossal eruption of April 1815.

The 1815 eruption is rated 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index
Volcanic Explosivity Index
The Volcanic Explosivity Index was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions....

, the only such eruption since the Lake Taupo
Hatepe eruption
The Hatepe eruption around the year 180 CE was Lake Taupo's most recent major eruption, and New Zealand's largest eruption during the last 20,000 years. It ejected some of material , of which was ejected in the space of a few minutes...

 eruption in about 180 AD.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Mount Tambora'
Start a new discussion about 'Mount Tambora'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
Mount Tambora is an active stratovolcano
Stratovolcano
A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

, also known as a composite volcano, on the island of Sumbawa
Sumbawa
Sumbawa is an Indonesian island, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, and Sumba further to the southeast. It is in the province of West Nusa Tenggara....

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. Sumbawa is flanked both to the north and south by oceanic crust
Oceanic crust
Oceanic crust is the part of Earth's lithosphere that surfaces in the ocean basins. Oceanic crust is primarily composed of mafic rocks, or sima, which is rich in iron and magnesium...

, and Tambora was formed by the active subduction zone beneath it. This raised Mount Tambora as high as 4300 m (14,107.6 ft), making it formerly one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago. After a large magma chamber
Magma chamber
A magma chamber is a large underground pool of molten rock found beneath the surface of the Earth. The molten rock in such a chamber is under great pressure, and given enough time, that pressure can gradually fracture the rock around it creating outlets for the magma...

 inside the mountain filled over the course of several decades, volcanic activity reached a historic climax in the super-colossal eruption of April 1815.

The 1815 eruption is rated 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index
Volcanic Explosivity Index
The Volcanic Explosivity Index was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions....

, the only such eruption since the Lake Taupo
Hatepe eruption
The Hatepe eruption around the year 180 CE was Lake Taupo's most recent major eruption, and New Zealand's largest eruption during the last 20,000 years. It ejected some of material , of which was ejected in the space of a few minutes...

 eruption in about 180 AD. With an estimated ejecta volume of 160 cubic kilometers, Tambora's 1815 outburst was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. The explosion was heard on Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 island (more than 2000 km (1,242.7 mi) away). Heavy volcanic ash
Volcanic ash
Volcanic ash consists of small tephra, which are bits of pulverized rock and glass created by volcanic eruptions, less than in diameter. There are three mechanisms of volcanic ash formation: gas release under decompression causing magmatic eruptions; thermal contraction from chilling on contact...

 falls were observed as far away as Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

, Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 and Maluku
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 islands. Most deaths from the eruption were from starvation and disease, as the eruptive fallout ruined agricultural productivity in the local region. The death toll was at least 71,000 people (the most deadly eruption in recorded history), of whom 11,000–12,000 were killed directly by the eruption; the often-cited figure of 92,000 people killed is believed to be overestimated. The eruption created global climate anomalies that included the phenomenon known as "volcanic winter
Volcanic winter
A volcanic winter is the reduction in temperature caused by volcanic ash and droplets of sulfuric acid obscuring the sun and raising Earth's albedo after a large particularly explosive type of volcanic eruption...

": 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer
Year Without a Summer
The Year Without a Summer was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C , resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere...

" because of the effect on North American and European weather. Agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 crops failed and livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 died in much of the Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
The Northern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is north of its equator—the word hemisphere literally means “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator...

, resulting in the worst famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 of the 19th century.

During an excavation in 2004, a team of archaeologists
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 discovered cultural remains buried by the 1815 eruption. They were kept intact beneath the 3 m (9.8 ft) deep pyroclastic deposits. At the site, dubbed the Pompeii
Pompeii
The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town-city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Along with Herculaneum, Pompeii was destroyed and completely buried during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning...

 of the East
, the artifacts were preserved in the positions they had occupied in 1815.

Geographical setting



Mount Tambora is located on Sumbawa
Sumbawa
Sumbawa is an Indonesian island, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, and Sumba further to the southeast. It is in the province of West Nusa Tenggara....

 Island, part of the Lesser Sunda Islands
Lesser Sunda Islands
The Lesser Sunda Islands or Nusa Tenggara are a group of islands in the southern Maritime Southeast Asia, north of Australia. Together with the Greater Sunda Islands to the west they make up the Sunda Islands...

. It is a segment of the Sunda Arc
Sunda Arc
The Sunda Arc is a volcanic arc that has produced the islands of Sumatra and Java, the Sunda Strait and the Lesser Sunda Islands. A chain of volcanoes forms the topographic spine of these islands...

, a string of volcanic islands that forms the southern chain of the Indonesian archipelago
Archipelago
An archipelago , sometimes called an island group, is a chain or cluster of islands. The word archipelago is derived from the Greek ἄρχι- – arkhi- and πέλαγος – pélagos through the Italian arcipelago...

. Tambora forms its own peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 on Sumbawa, known as the Sanggar peninsula. At the north of the peninsula is the Flores Sea
Flores Sea
The Flores Sea covers 93,000 square miles of water in Indonesia.- Geography :The seas that border the Flores Sea are the Bali Sea , Java Sea , and the Banda Sea ....

, and at the south is Saleh Bay
Saleh Bay
Saleh Bay is the largest bay in the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, roughly on the north central part. It is semi enclosed by Moyo Island and the peninsula of Tambora, Sanggar Peninsula. 3 larger islands in the bay are Liang Island, Ngali Island, and Rakit Island. 3 of the 4 regencies of...

, 86 kilometres (53.4 mi) long and 36 kilometres (22.4 mi) wide. At the mouth of Saleh Bay there is an islet
Islet
An islet is a very small island.- Types :As suggested by its origin as islette, an Old French diminutive of "isle", use of the term implies small size, but little attention is given to drawing an upper limit on its applicability....

 called Moyo (Indonesian: Pulau Moyo)

Besides its interest for seismologists
Seismology
Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic,...

 and volcanologists
Volcanology
Volcanology is the study of volcanoes, lava, magma, and related geological, geophysical and geochemical phenomena. The term volcanology is derived from the Latin word vulcan. Vulcan was the ancient Roman god of fire....

, who monitor the mountain's activity, Mount Tambora is an area of scientific studies for archaeologists and biologists
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

. The mountain also attracts tourists for hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

 and wildlife activities. The two nearest cities are Dompu and Bima. There are three concentrations of villages around the mountain slope. At the east is Sanggar village, to the northwest are Doro Peti and Pesanggrahan villages, and to the west is Calabai village.

There are two ascent routes to reach the caldera
Caldera
A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption, such as the one at Yellowstone National Park in the US. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters...

. The first route starts from Doro Mboha village southeast of the mountain. This route follows a paved road through a cashew
Cashew
The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew nuts and cashew apples.-Etymology:The...

 plantation until it reaches 1150 metres (3,773 ft) above sea level. The end of this route is the southern part of the caldera at 1950 metres (6,397.6 ft), reachable by a hiking track. This location is usually used as a base camp to monitor the volcanic activity, because it only takes one hour to reach the caldera. The second route starts from Pancasila village northwest of the mountain. Using the second route, the caldera is accessible only by foot.

In August 2011, the alert level for the volcano was raised from Level I to Level II after increasing activity was reported in the caldera, including earthquakes and smoke emissions. In September 2011 the alert level was raised to Level III after increasing activity.

Formation


Tambora lies 340 kilometres (211.3 mi) north of the Java Trench
Java Trench
The Sunda Trench, earlier known as, and sometimes still indicated as the Java Trench, located in the northeastern Indian Ocean, with a length of and a maximum depth of , is the second-deepest point in the Indian Ocean after Diamantina Trench, which is 8,047 metres deep...

 system and 180–190 km (111.8–118.1 mi) above the upper surface of the active north-dipping subduction zone. Sumbawa island is flanked to both the north and south by the oceanic crust
Oceanic crust
Oceanic crust is the part of Earth's lithosphere that surfaces in the ocean basins. Oceanic crust is primarily composed of mafic rocks, or sima, which is rich in iron and magnesium...

. The convergence rate is 7.8 cm/year (3 in/year). Tambora is estimated to have formed around 57,000 years ago. Depositing its strata has drained off a large magma chamber
Magma chamber
A magma chamber is a large underground pool of molten rock found beneath the surface of the Earth. The molten rock in such a chamber is under great pressure, and given enough time, that pressure can gradually fracture the rock around it creating outlets for the magma...

 inside the mountain. The Mojo islet was formed as part of this geological process in which Saleh Bay, collapsing into the caldera of the drained magma chamber, first appeared as a sea basin
Oceanic basin
Hydrologically, an oceanic basin may be anywhere on Earth that is covered by seawater, but geologically ocean basins are large geologic basins that are below sea level...

, about 25,000 years ago.

According to a geological survey, prior to the 1815 eruption Tambora had the shape of a typical stratovolcano
Stratovolcano
A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

, with a high symmetrical volcanic cone and a single central vent. The diameter at the base is 60 kilometres (37.3 mi). The central vent emitted lava frequently, which cascaded down a steep slope.

Since the 1815 eruption, the lowermost portion contains deposits of interlayered sequences of lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

 and pyroclastic materials. The 1–4 m (3.3–13.1 ft) thick lava flows constitute approximately 40% of the layers' thickness. Thick scoria
Scoria
Scoria is a volcanic rock containing many holes or vesicles. It is most generally dark in color , and basaltic or andesitic in composition. Scoria is relatively low in mass as a result of its numerous macroscopic ellipsoidal vesicles, but in contrast to pumice, all scoria has a specific gravity...

 beds were produced by the fragmentation of lava flows. Within the upper section, the lava is interbedded with scoria, tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

s and pyroclastic flows and falls. There are at least twenty subsidiary or parasitic cones. Some of them have names: Tahe (877 m), Molo (602 m), Kadiendinae, Kubah (1648 m) and Doro Api Toi. Most of these parasitic cones have produced basaltic lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

s.

Eruptive history



Use of the radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

 technique has established the dates of three of Mount Tambora's eruptions prior to the 1815 eruption. The magnitudes of these eruptions are unknown. The estimated dates are 3910 BC ± 200 years, 3050 BC and  740 AD ± 150 years. They were all explosive central vent eruptions with similar characteristics, except the lattermost eruption had no pyroclastic flow
Pyroclastic flow
A pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving current of superheated gas and rock , which reaches speeds moving away from a volcano of up to 700 km/h . The flows normally hug the ground and travel downhill, or spread laterally under gravity...

s.

In 1812, Mount Tambora became highly active, with its eruptive peak in the catastrophic explosive event of April 1815. The magnitude was 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index
Volcanic Explosivity Index
The Volcanic Explosivity Index was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions....

 (VEI) scale, with a total tephra
Tephra
200px|thumb|right|Tephra horizons in south-central [[Iceland]]. The thick and light coloured layer at center of the photo is [[rhyolitic]] tephra from [[Hekla]]....

 ejecta volume of 1.6 × 1011 cubic metres (160 cubic kilometers or 38 cubic miles). It was an explosive central vent eruption with pyroclastic flows and a caldera
Caldera
A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption, such as the one at Yellowstone National Park in the US. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters...

 collapse, causing tsunami
Tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

s and extensive land and property damage. It created a long-term effect on global climate. This activity ceased on 15 July 1815. Follow-up activity was recorded in August 1819 consisting of a small eruption (VEI = 2) with flames and rumbling aftershock
Aftershock
An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that occurs after a previous large earthquake, in the same area of the main shock. If an aftershock is larger than the main shock, the aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock...

s, and was considered to be part of the 1815 eruption. Around 1880 ± 30 years, Tambora went into eruption again, but only inside the caldera. It created small lava flows and lava dome extrusions
Extrusive (geology)
Extrusive refers to the mode of igneous volcanic rock formation in which hot magma from inside the Earth flows out onto the surface as lava or explodes violently into the atmosphere to fall back as pyroclastics or tuff...

. This eruption (VEI = 2) created the Doro Api Toi parasitic cone inside the caldera.

Mount Tambora is still active. Minor lava domes and flows have been extruded on the caldera floor during the 19th and 20th centuries. The last eruption was recorded in 1967. However, it was a very small, non-explosive eruption (VEI = 0).


Chronology of the eruption


Mount Tambora experienced several centuries of inactive dormancy before 1815, as the result of the gradual cooling of hydrous magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 in a closed magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 chamber. Inside the chamber at depths between 1.5–4.5 km (4,921.3–14,763.8 ft), the exsolution of a high-pressure fluid magma formed during cooling and crystallisation of the magma. Overpressure of the chamber of about 4–5 kbar
Bar (unit)
The bar is a unit of pressure equal to 100 kilopascals, and roughly equal to the atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level. Other units derived from the bar are the megabar , kilobar , decibar , centibar , and millibar...

 was generated, and the temperature ranged from 700–850 °C (1,292–1,562 F).

In 1812, the caldera
Caldera
A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption, such as the one at Yellowstone National Park in the US. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters...

 began to rumble and generated a dark cloud.

On 5 April 1815, a moderate-sized eruption occurred, followed by thunderous detonation sounds, heard in Makassar
Makassar
Makassar, is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, and the largest city on Sulawesi Island. From 1971 to 1999, the city was named Ujung Pandang, after a precolonial fort in the city, and the two names are often used interchangeably...

 on Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

 (380 kilometres or 236.1 mi), Batavia (now Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

) on Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 (1260 km or 782.9 mi), and Ternate
Ternate
Ternate is an island in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia. It is located off the west coast of the larger island of Halmahera, the center of the powerful former Sultanate of Ternate....

 on the Molucca Islands (1400 km or 869.9 mi). On the morning of April 6, volcanic ash
Volcanic ash
Volcanic ash consists of small tephra, which are bits of pulverized rock and glass created by volcanic eruptions, less than in diameter. There are three mechanisms of volcanic ash formation: gas release under decompression causing magmatic eruptions; thermal contraction from chilling on contact...

 began to fall in East Java
East Java
East Java is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the eastern part of the island of Java and includes neighboring Madura and islands to its east and to its north East Java is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the eastern part of the island of Java and includes neighboring Madura and...

 with faint detonation
Detonation
Detonation involves a supersonic exothermic front accelerating through a medium that eventually drives a shock front propagating directly in front of it. Detonations are observed in both conventional solid and liquid explosives, as well as in reactive gases...

 sounds lasting until 10 April. What was first thought to be sound of firing guns was heard on April 10 on Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 island (more than 2600 km or 1,615.6 mi away).

At about 7 p.m. on 10 April, the eruptions intensified. Three columns of flame rose up and merged. The whole mountain was turned into a flowing mass of "liquid fire". Pumice
Pumice
Pumice is a textural term for a volcanic rock that is a solidified frothy lava typically created when super-heated, highly pressurized rock is violently ejected from a volcano. It can be formed when lava and water are mixed. This unusual formation is due to the simultaneous actions of rapid...

 stones of up to 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in diameter started to rain down at approximately 8 p.m., followed by ash at around 9–10 p.m. Hot pyroclastic flow
Pyroclastic flow
A pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving current of superheated gas and rock , which reaches speeds moving away from a volcano of up to 700 km/h . The flows normally hug the ground and travel downhill, or spread laterally under gravity...

s cascaded down the mountain to the sea on all sides of the peninsula, wiping out the village of Tambora. Loud explosions were heard until the next evening, 11 April. The ash veil had spread as far as West Java
West Java
West Java , with a population of over 43 million, is the most populous and most densely populated province of Indonesia. Located on the island of Java, it is slightly smaller in area than densely populated Taiwan, but with nearly double the population...

 and South Sulawesi
South Sulawesi
South Sulawesi is a province of Indonesia, located on the western southern peninsula of Sulawesi Island. The province is bordered by Central Sulawesi province to the north, South East Sulawesi province to the east and West Sulawesi province to the west...

. A "nitrous" odour was noticeable in Batavia
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 and heavy tephra
Tephra
200px|thumb|right|Tephra horizons in south-central [[Iceland]]. The thick and light coloured layer at center of the photo is [[rhyolitic]] tephra from [[Hekla]]....

-tinged rain fell, finally receding between 11 and 17 April.

The first explosions were heard on this Island in the evening of 5 April, they were noticed in every quarter, and continued at intervals until the following day. The noise was, in the first instance, almost universally attributed to distant cannon; so much so, that a detachment of troops were marched from Djocjocarta
Yogyakarta (city)
Yogyakarta is a city in the Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. It is renowned as a centre of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry, and puppet shows. Yogyakarta was the Indonesian capital during the Indonesian National Revolution from 1945 to...

, in the expectation that a neighbouring post was attacked, and along the coast boats were in two instances dispatched in quest of a supposed ship in distress.

—Sir Stamford Raffles' memoir.



The explosion is estimated to have been at scale 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index
Volcanic Explosivity Index
The Volcanic Explosivity Index was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions....

. It had roughly four times the energy of the 1883 Krakatoa
Krakatoa
Krakatoa is a volcanic island made of a'a lava in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. The name is used for the island group, the main island , and the volcano as a whole. The island exploded in 1883, killing approximately 40,000 people, although some estimates...

 eruption, meaning that it was equivalent to an 800 megaton explosion. An estimated 160 cubic kilometers (38 cubic miles) of pyroclastic trachyandesite
Trachyandesite
Trachyandesite is an extrusive igneous rock. It has little or no free quartz, but is dominated by alkali feldspar and sodic plagioclase along with one or more of the following mafic minerals: amphibole, biotite or pyroxene...

 was ejected, weighing approximately 1.4×1014 kg (see above). This has left a caldera measuring 6–7 km (3.7–4.3 mi) across and 600–700 m (1,968.5–2,296.6 ft) deep. The density of fallen ash in Makassar
Makassar
Makassar, is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, and the largest city on Sulawesi Island. From 1971 to 1999, the city was named Ujung Pandang, after a precolonial fort in the city, and the two names are often used interchangeably...

 was 636 kg/m². Before the explosion, Mount Tambora was approximately 4300 metres (14,107.6 ft) high, one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago. After the explosion, it now measures only 2851 metres (9,353.7 ft).

The 1815 Tambora eruption is the largest observed eruption in recorded history (see Table I, for comparison). The explosion was heard 2600 kilometres (1,615.6 mi) away, and ash fell at least 1300 kilometres (807.8 mi) away. Pitch darkness was observed as far away as 600 kilometres (372.8 mi) from the mountain summit for up to two days. Pyroclastic flows spread at least 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) from the summit. Due to the eruption, Indonesia's
Islands were attacked by tsunami waves reaching a height of up to 4 metre.

Aftermath


On my trip towards the western part of the island, I passed through nearly the whole of Dompo and a considerable part of Bima
Bima
Bima is a city on the eastern coast of the island Sumbawa in central Indonesia's province West Nusa Tenggara, and the largest city on the island. In 2010 the municipality counted some 142,443 people, separate from the adjoining Regency of Bima with 407,636 population...

. The extreme misery to which the inhabitants have been reduced is shocking to behold. There were still on the road side the remains of several corpses, and the marks of where many others had been interred: the villages almost entirely deserted and the houses fallen down, the surviving inhabitants having dispersed in search of food.
...
Since the eruption, a violent diarrhoea
Diarrhea
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and...

 has prevailed in Bima, Dompo, and Sang’ir, which has carried off a great number of people. It is supposed by the natives to have been caused by drinking water which has been impregnated with ashes; and horses have also died, in great numbers, from a similar complaint.

—Lt. Philips, ordered by Sir Stamford Raffles to go to Sumbawa

Sumbawa
Sumbawa is an Indonesian island, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, and Sumba further to the southeast. It is in the province of West Nusa Tenggara....

.


All vegetation on the island was destroyed. Uprooted trees, mixed with pumice ash, washed into the sea and formed rafts of up to 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) across. One pumice raft was found in the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

, near Calcutta
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

 on 1 and 3 October 1815. Clouds of thick ash still covered the summit on 23 April. Explosions ceased on 15 July, although smoke emissions were still observed as late as 23 August. Flames and rumbling aftershocks were reported in August 1819, four years after the event.

A moderate-sized tsunami
Tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

 struck the shores of various islands in the Indonesian archipelago on 10 April, with a height of up to 4 metres (13.1 ft) in Sanggar at around 10 p.m. A tsunami of 1–2 m (3.3–6.6 ft) in height was reported in Besuki, East Java
East Java
East Java is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the eastern part of the island of Java and includes neighboring Madura and islands to its east and to its north East Java is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the eastern part of the island of Java and includes neighboring Madura and...

, before midnight, and one of 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height in the Molucca Islands. The total death-toll has been estimated at around 4,600.

The eruption column reached the stratosphere
Stratosphere
The stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere, and below the mesosphere. It is stratified in temperature, with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. This is in contrast to the troposphere near the Earth's surface, which is cooler...

, an altitude of more than 43 km (140,000 ft). The coarser ash particles fell 1 to 2 weeks after the eruptions, but the finer ash particles stayed in the atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 from a few months up to a few years at an altitude of 10–30 km (32,808.4–98,425.2 ft). Longitudinal winds spread these fine particles around the globe, creating optical phenomena. Prolonged and brilliantly colored sunsets and twilights were frequently seen in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England between 28 June and 2 July 1815 and 3 September and 7 October 1815. The glow of the twilight sky typically appeared orange or red near the horizon and purple or pink above.

The estimated number of deaths varies depending on the source. Zollinger (1855) puts the number of direct deaths at 10,000, probably caused by pyroclastic flows. On Sumbawa island, there were 38,000 deaths due to starvation, and another 10,000 deaths occurred due to disease and hunger on Lombok
Lombok
Lombok is an island in West Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. It forms part of the chain of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with the Lombok Strait separating it from Bali to the west and the Alas Strait between it and Sumbawa to the east...

 island. Petroeschevsky (1949) estimated about 48,000 and 44,000 people were killed on Sumbawa and Lombok, respectively. Several authors use Petroeschevsky's figures, such as Stothers (1984), who cites 88,000 deaths in total. However, Tanguy et al.. (1998) claimed Petroeschevsky's figures to be unfounded and based on untraceable references. Tanguy revised the number solely based on two credible sources, q.e., Zollinger, who himself spent several months on Sumbawa after the eruption, and Raffles's notes. Tanguy pointed out that there may have been additional victims on Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

 and East Java
East Java
East Java is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the eastern part of the island of Java and includes neighboring Madura and islands to its east and to its north East Java is a province of Indonesia. It is located on the eastern part of the island of Java and includes neighboring Madura and...

 because of famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 and disease. Their estimate was 11,000 deaths from direct volcanic effects and 49,000 by post-eruption famine and epidemic diseases. Oppenheimer (2003) stated a modified number of at least 71,000 deaths in total, as seen in Table I below.
Table I. Comparison of selected volcanic eruptions
Eruptions Country Location Year Column
height (km)
 Volcanic
Volcanic Explosivity Index
The Volcanic Explosivity Index was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions....


Explosivity Index
Volcanic Explosivity Index
The Volcanic Explosivity Index was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions....

 
N. hemisphere
summer anomaly (°C)
Fatalities
Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius
Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, although it is not currently erupting...

 
Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 
Mediterranean  79 30 5 ? 02001>2,000
Hatepe
Hatepe eruption
The Hatepe eruption around the year 180 CE was Lake Taupo's most recent major eruption, and New Zealand's largest eruption during the last 20,000 years. It ejected some of material , of which was ejected in the space of a few minutes...

 (Taupo)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
186 51 7 ? 00000?
Baekdu
Baekdu Mountain
Baekdu Mountain, also known in China as Changbai Mountain and Baitou Mountain , is a volcanic mountain on the border between North Korea and China, located at...

 
China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 / North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
969 25 6–7 ? 00000?
Kuwae
Kuwae
Kuwae is a submarine caldera between Epi and Tongoa islands. Kuwae Caldera cuts through the flank of the Tavani Ruru volcano on Epi and the northwest end of Tongoa....

 
Vanuatu
Vanuatu
Vanuatu , officially the Republic of Vanuatu , is an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is some east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.Vanuatu was...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1452 ? 6 −0.5 00000?
Huaynaputina
Huaynaputina
Huaynaputina is a stratovolcano located in a volcanic upland in southern Peru. The volcano does not have an identifiable mountain profile, but instead has the form of a large volcanic crater. It has produced high-potassium andesite and dacite...

 
Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1600 46 6 −0.8 01400≈1,400
Tambora Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1815 43 7 −0.5 71001>71,000
Krakatoa
Krakatoa
Krakatoa is a volcanic island made of a'a lava in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. The name is used for the island group, the main island , and the volcano as a whole. The island exploded in 1883, killing approximately 40,000 people, although some estimates...

 
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1883 36 6 −0.3 3600036,600
Santa María  Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1902 34 6 no anomaly 070017,000–13,000
Katmai
Mount Katmai
Mount Katmai is a large stratovolcano on the Alaska Peninsula in southern Alaska, located within Katmai National Park and Preserve. It is about in diameter with a central lake-filled caldera about 3 by 2 mi in area, formed during the Novarupta eruption of 1912. The caldera rim reaches a...

 
USA, Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1912 32 6 −0.4 000022
Mt. St. Helens  USA, Washington  Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1980 19 5 no anomaly 0005757
El Chichón
El Chichón
El Chichón, also known as El Chichonal is an active volcano in Francisco León Municipality in northwestern Chiapas, Mexico. Its only recorded eruptive activity was on March 29, April 3 and April 4, 1982 , when it produced a one km-wide caldera that then filled with an acidic crater lake...

 
Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1982 32 4–5 ? 02001>2,000
Nevado del Ruiz
Nevado del Ruiz
The Nevado del Ruiz, also known as La Mesa de Herveo or Kumanday in the language of the local pre-Columbian indigenous people, is a volcano located on the border of the departments of Caldas and Tolima in Colombia, about west of the capital city Bogotá. It is a stratovolcano, composed of many...

 
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1985 27 3 no anomaly 2300023,000
Pinatubo
Mount Pinatubo
Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon, near the tripoint of the Philippine provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. It is located in the Tri-Cabusilan Mountain range separating the west coast of Luzon from the central plains, and is west of the dormant and...

 
Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

 
1991 34 6 −0.5 012021,202

Source: Oppenheimer (2003), and Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program for VEI.
http://www.activolcans.info/eruptions-volcaniques-historiques-du-volcan-Krakatau.html

Global effects


The 1815 eruption released sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 into the stratosphere
Stratosphere
The stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere, and below the mesosphere. It is stratified in temperature, with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. This is in contrast to the troposphere near the Earth's surface, which is cooler...

, causing a global climate anomaly. Different methods have estimated the ejected sulfur mass during the eruption: the petrological method; an optical depth measurement based on anatomical
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 observations; and the polar
Polar region
Earth's polar regions are the areas of the globe surrounding the poles also known as frigid zones. The North Pole and South Pole being the centers, these regions are dominated by the polar ice caps, resting respectively on the Arctic Ocean and the continent of Antarctica...

 ice core
Ice core
An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet, most commonly from the polar ice caps of Antarctica, Greenland or from high mountain glaciers elsewhere. As the ice forms from the incremental build up of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice...

 sulfate concentration method, using cores from Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 and Antarctica. The figures vary depending on the method, ranging from 10 to 120 million tons S.

In the spring and summer of 1815, a persistent dry fog was observed in the northeastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight, such that sunspots were visible to the naked eye. Neither wind nor rainfall dispersed the "fog". It was identified as a stratospheric sulfate aerosol veil. In summer 1816, countries in the Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
The Northern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is north of its equator—the word hemisphere literally means “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator...

 suffered extreme weather conditions, dubbed the Year Without a Summer
Year Without a Summer
The Year Without a Summer was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C , resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere...

. Average global temperatures decreased about 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F), enough to cause significant agricultural problems around the globe. On 4 June 1816, frosts were reported in Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, and by the following day, most of New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 was gripped by the cold front. On 6 June 1816, snow fell in Albany, New York
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

, and Dennysville, Maine
Dennysville, Maine
Dennysville is a town in Washington County, Maine, United States. The population was 319 at the 2000 census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it is water....

. Such conditions occurred for at least three months and ruined most agricultural crops in North America. Canada experienced extreme cold during that summer. Snow 30 centimetres (11.8 in) deep accumulated near Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

 from 6 to 10 June 1816.

1816 was the second coldest year in the northern hemisphere since CE 1400, after 1601 following the 1600 Huaynaputina
Huaynaputina
Huaynaputina is a stratovolcano located in a volcanic upland in southern Peru. The volcano does not have an identifiable mountain profile, but instead has the form of a large volcanic crater. It has produced high-potassium andesite and dacite...

 eruption in Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

. The 1810s are the coldest decade on record, a result of Tambora's 1815 eruption and other suspected eruptions somewhere between 1809 and 1810 (see sulfate concentration figure from ice core
Ice core
An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet, most commonly from the polar ice caps of Antarctica, Greenland or from high mountain glaciers elsewhere. As the ice forms from the incremental build up of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper, and an ice...

 data). The surface temperature anomalies during the summer of 1816, 1817 and 1818 were −0.51, −0.44 and −0.29 °C, respectively. As well as a cooler summer, parts of Europe experienced a stormier winter.

This pattern of climate anomaly has been blamed for the severity of typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 epidemic
Epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

 in southeast Europe and the eastern Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 between 1816 and 1819. The climate changes disrupted India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

s causing three failed harvests and famine contributing to worldwide spread of a new strain of cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 originating in Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 in 1816. Much livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 died in New England during the winter of 1816–1817. Cool temperatures and heavy rains resulted in failed harvests in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

. Families in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 traveled long distances as refugees, begging for food. Famine was prevalent in north and southwest Ireland, following the failure of wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, oat
Oat
The common oat is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name . While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed...

 and potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

 harvests. The crisis was severe in Germany, where food prices rose sharply. Due to the unknown cause of the problems, demonstrations in front of grain markets and bakeries, followed by riot
Riot
A riot is a form of civil disorder characterized often by what is thought of as disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property or people. While individuals may attempt to lead or control a riot, riots are thought to be typically chaotic and...

s, arson
Arson
Arson is the crime of intentionally or maliciously setting fire to structures or wildland areas. It may be distinguished from other causes such as spontaneous combustion and natural wildfires...

 and looting
Looting
Looting —also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe, such as during war, natural disaster, or rioting...

, took place in many European cities. It was the worst famine of the 19th century.

Archaeological work


See Tambora (lost culture)
Tambora (lost culture)
Tambora is a lost village and culture on Sumbawa Island buried by ash and pyroclastic flows from the massive 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora. The village had about 10,000 residents. Scientists unearthing the site have discovered ceramic pots, bronze bowls, glass bottles, and homes and villagers...

 for details about 2004 work on exploring for villages and people lost at the time of the major eruption.

Ecosystem


A scientific team led by a Swiss
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 botanist
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

, Heinrich Zollinger, arrived on Sumbawa in 1847. Zollinger's mission was to study the eruption scene and its effects on the local ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

. He was the first person to climb to the summit after the eruption. It was still covered by smoke. As Zollinger climbed up, his feet sank several times through a thin surface crust into a warm layer of powder-like sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

. Some vegetation had re-established itself and a few trees were observed on the lower slope. A Casuarina
Casuarina
Casuarina is a genus of 17 species in the family Casuarinaceae, native to Australasia, southeast Asia, and islands of the western Pacific Ocean. It was once treated as the sole genus in the family, but has been split into three genera .They are evergreen shrubs and trees growing to 35 m tall...

forest was noted at 2200–2550 m (7,217.8–8,366.1 ft). Several Imperata cylindrica grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s were also found.

Rehabitation of the mountain began in 1907. A coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 plantation was started in the 1930s on the northwestern slope of the mountain, in the village of Pekat. A dense rain forest, dominated by the pioneering tree, Duabanga moluccana
Duabanga moluccana
Duabanga moluccana is a species of tree native to Indonesia and surrounding areas. Its common names include kalanggo loktob and magas .-External links:**...

, had grown at an altitude of 1000–2800 m (3,280.8–9,186.4 ft). It covers an area up to 80,000 hectares (800 km2). The rain forest was explored by a Dutch team, led by Koster and de Voogd in 1933. From their accounts, they started their journey in a "fairly barren, dry and hot country", and then they entered "a mighty jungle" with "huge, majestic forest giants". At 1100 metres (3,608.9 ft), they entered a montane
Montane
In biogeography, montane is the highland area located below the subalpine zone. Montane regions generally have cooler temperatures and often have higher rainfall than the adjacent lowland regions, and are frequently home to distinct communities of plants and animals.The term "montane" means "of the...

 forest. Above 1800 metres (5,905.5 ft), they found Dodonaea viscosa
Dodonaea viscosa
Dodonaea viscosa is a species of flowering plant in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, that has a cosmopolitan distribution in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of Africa, the Americas, southern Asia and Australasia.-Description:...

dominated by Casuarina trees. On the summit, they found sparse Anaphalis viscida and Wahlenbergia
Wahlenbergia
Wahlenbergia is a genus of between 150-270 species of flowering plants in the family Campanulaceae, with a cosmopolitan distribution except for North America; the highest species diversity is in Africa and Australasia...

.

In 1896, 56 species of birds were found, including the Crested White-eye
Crested White-eye
The Crested White-eye is a species of bird in the Zosteropidae family.It is endemic to Indonesia.Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montanes....

. Twelve further species were found in 1981. Several other zoological surveys followed, and found other bird species on the mountain, resulting in over 90 bird species discovered on Mount Tambora. Yellow-crested Cockatoo
Yellow-crested Cockatoo
The Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua sulphurea, also known as the Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, is a medium-sized cockatoo with white plumage, bluish-white bare orbital skin, grey feet, a black bill, and a retractile yellow crest. The sexes are similar...

s, Zoothera thrushes, Hill Myna
Hill Myna
The Common Hill Myna , sometimes spelled "mynah" and formerly simply known as "Hill Myna", is the myna bird most commonly seen in aviculture, where it is often simply referred to by the latter two names. It is a member of the starling family , resident in hill regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia...

s, Green Junglefowl
Green Junglefowl
The Green Junglefowl, Gallus varius also known as Javan Junglefowl, Forktail or Green Javanese Junglefowl is a medium-sized, up to 75 cm long, bird in the pheasant family Phasianidae...

 and Rainbow Lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeet
The Rainbow Lorikeet, is a species of Australasian parrot found in Australia, eastern Indonesia , Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In Australia, it is common along the eastern seaboard, from Queensland to South Australia and northwest Tasmania...

s are hunted for the cagebird trade by the local people. Orange-footed Scrubfowl
Orange-footed Scrubfowl
The Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Megapodius reinwardt, is a small megapode of the family Megapodiidae.This species comprises five subspecies found on many islands in Wallacea as well as southern New Guinea and northern Australia. It is a terrestrial bird the size of a domestic chicken and dark-coloured...

 are hunted for food. This bird exploitation has resulted in a decline in the bird population. The Yellow-crested Cockatoo is nearing extinction on Sumbawa island.

Since 1972, a commercial logging company has been operating in the area, which poses a large threat to the rain forest. The logging company holds a timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

-cutting concession for an area of 20,000 hectares (200 km2), or 25% of the total area. Another part of the rain forest is used as a hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 ground. In between the hunting ground and the logging area, there is a designated wildlife reserve where deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, water buffalos, wild pigs, bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

s, flying foxes, and various species of reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s and bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s can be found.

Monitoring



Indonesia's population has been increasing rapidly since the 1815 eruption. As of 2006, the population of Indonesia has reached 222 million people, of which 130 million are concentrated on Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

. A volcanic eruption as large as the Tambora 1815 eruption would cause catastrophic devastation with more fatalities. Therefore, volcanic activity in Indonesia is continuously monitored, including that of Mount Tambora. Seismic activity
Seismology
Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic,...

 in Indonesia is monitored by the Directorate of Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia. The monitoring post for Mount Tambora is located at Doro Peti village. They focus on seismic and tectonic
Tectonics
Tectonics is a field of study within geology concerned generally with the structures within the lithosphere of the Earth and particularly with the forces and movements that have operated in a region to create these structures.Tectonics is concerned with the orogenies and tectonic development of...

 activities by using a seismograph. Since the 1880 eruption, there has been no significant increase in seismic activity. However, monitoring is continuously performed inside the caldera, especially around the parasite cone Doro Api Toi.

The directorate has defined a hazard mitigation map for Mount Tambora. Two zones are declared: the dangerous zone and the cautious zone. The dangerous zone is an area that will be directly affected by an eruption: pyroclastic flow, lava flow and other pyroclastic falls. This area, including the caldera and its surroundings, covers up to 58.7 square kilometres (14,505.1 acre). Habitation of the dangerous zone is prohibited. The cautious zone includes areas that might be indirectly affected by an eruption: lahar
Lahar
A lahar is a type of mudflow or debris flow composed of a slurry of pyroclastic material, rocky debris, and water. The material flows down from a volcano, typically along a river valley. The term is a shortened version of "berlahar" which originated in the Javanese language of...

 flows and other pumice stones. The size of the cautious area is 185 square kilometres (45,714.5 acre), and includes Pasanggrahan, Doro Peti, Rao, Labuan Kenanga, Gubu Ponda, Kawindana Toi and Hoddo villages. A river, called Guwu, at the southern and northwest part of the mountain is also included in the cautious zone.

See also



Further reading

  • C.R. Harrington (ed.). The Year without a summer? : world climate in 1816, Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Nature, 1992. ISBN 0-660-13063-7
  • Henry and Elizabeth Stommel. Volcano Weather: The Story of 1816 , the Year without a Summer, Newport RI. 1983. ISBN 0-915160-71-4