Dee Finney's blog
start date July 20, 2011
today's date: April 29, 2013
TOPIC: MOUNT TAMBORA: 1815 AND CURRENT VOLCANOES
4-29-13 - DREAM -
I was vewing a web page of printed text notes. The only two I could remember
upon waking was '1815' and 'skyward'
on separate lines.
When I looked up those
two terms, I found that Mt. Tambora in Indonesia had exploded and cause a
whole year of summer that was more like winter and a great famine
occurred because of it in 1816.
What is Mount Tambora?
1815, the volcano of Tambora
suffered the most violent eruption in modern times. Beginning in early April and
continuing through the middle of July, its explosion affected an immense area
that included the Maluku
Islands (Molucca Islands), Java, and portions of
Sulawesi (Celebes), Sumatra, and Borneo. Heavy ash rains also
specifically affected the islands of Bali and Lombok. Approximately 92,000
people were killed because of pyroclastic flows
or starvation and disease. 1816 became known as "the Year Without a
Summer" because of the extreme weather conditions the eruption caused as far
away as North America.
The most violent eruption in recorded history
Mount Tambora erupted on April 10, by most accounts,
and the eruption lasted from April 10 to April 15. The explosion, of
Explosivity Index 6-7 released roughly 4 times the energy of the 1883
eruption of Krakatoa and
it ejected an estimated 100 cubic km of pyroclastic trachyandesite,
weighing approximately 2-3 ×
1014 kg. This left a caldera 7 km (4 mi) across.
Before the explosion, Mount Tambora was approximately 4200 m (13,000 ft) high;
after the explosion, it was only 2851 m (ab
Although the Tambora eruption was the largest eruption in recorded history,
it was dwarfed by numerous other prehistoric eruptions. A similar sized, or
possibly slightly larger, eruption occurred at Lake Taupo on the North Island in what is
now New Zealand in
roughly 181 AD[link], although the island was not yet populated, and thus
there was no one to observe it. The date has been determined from Chinese and Roman records of
dramatic sunsets and erratic weather[link], and from radiocarbon
The largest eruption during the time that mankind has lived on the
planet was the supervolcano at Lake Toba on the island of
Sumatra roughly 75,000
years ago which produced around 2800 cubic kilometres of material. There is some
DNA evidence that the number
sapiens alive were reduced to a few tens of thousand at that time, and
it has been hypothesised that this was caused by an ice age brought on by the Toba eruption[link]. An eruption of this size occurs somewhere on the planet
every few tens of thousands of years.
All vegetation on several nearby islands was destroyed. About 10,000 people
died immediately from the eruption, with about 82,000 dying from later
consequences of the disaster. Worldwide deaths caused by starvation and disease
due to climate change are more difficult to quantify. A kingdom on the flanks of
Tambora was buried in the ash, apparently, and a few of its ruins have been
discovered (and compared to Pompeii). [link]
of the eruption of Vesuvius
in 1822. Tambora's
violent blast seven years before must have looked similar, except many times
The eruption sent so much volcanic ash into the atmosphere that weather
patterns around the world were altered, causing the following year to be
nicknamed the "Year Without a
Summer". Average global temperatures decreased about 0.3 degrees Celsius
(0.5 °F), which seems like a small number, but it is enough to cause significant
agricultural problems around the globe. Summer frosts ruined crops as far south
as Virginia (by some historical accounts, Thomas Jefferson's crops were ruined),
and snow fell in August in New England.
Some historians hypothesize that the cooling after the explosion of Mt.
Tambora is at least partly responsible for the concurrent large migration of
peoples from New England to the region west of the Ohio River.
The crop failures during 1816 also resulted in a dramatic rise in the price
of oats, which led to the
starvation of many horses
and resulting problems with transportation. It
has been posited that this was the reason for Karl Drais's invention of
the early velocipede,
the basis of the bicycle.
As with most large rhyolitic eruptions, the
eruption of Mt. Tambora caused spectacular and unearthly sunsets with vivid
streaks of green for several years. This is caused by ash lingering high in the
it is not washed away by rain.
Quotes from 1815 accounts of the eruption
"The concussions produced by its explosions were felt at a distance of a
thousand miles (1600 km) all round; and their sound is said to have been heard
even at so great a distance as seventeen hundred miles (2700 km). In Java the
day was darkened by clouds of ashes, thrown from the
mountain to that great distance (300 miles or 500 km), and the houses, streets,
and fields, were covered to the depth of several inches with the ashes that fell
from the air. So great was the quantity of ashes ejected, that the roofs of
houses forty miles (65 km) distant from the volcano were broken in by their
weight. The effects of the eruption extended even to the western coasts of
Sumatra, where masses of pumice were seen floating on
the surface of the sea, several feet in thickness and many miles in extent."
"From the crater itself there were seen to ascend 3 fiery pyroclastic columns,
which, after soaring to a great height, appeared to unite in a confused manner
at their tops. Soon, the whole of the side of the mountain next to the village
of Sang'ir seemed like one vast body of liquid fire. The glare was terrific,
until towards evening, when it became partly obscured by the vast quantities of
dust, ashes, stones, and cinders thrown up from the crater. Between nine and ten
o'clock at night the ashes and stones began to fall upon the village of Sang'ir,
and all round the neighbourhood of the mountain."
cloud sent skyward by Mount Pinatubo
this 1991 space
photo. Tambora, in 1815, released a far larger layer of ash and
debris that disrupted weather around the world for the next few years, causing
"The heat triggered a 'dreadful whirlwind', which blew down nearly every
house in the village, tossing the roofs and lighter parts high into the air. In
the neighbouring sea-port the effects were even more violent, the largest trees
having been torn up by the roots and whirled aloft. Before such a furious
tempest no living thing could stand. Men, horses, and cattle were whirled into
the air like so much chaff, and then dashed violently down on the ground. The
sea rose nearly twelve feet above the highest tide-mark, sweeping away houses,
trees, everything within its reach. This whirlwind lasted about 19 seconds."
However, Robock 2002 states that, although cooling did occur post the 1815
eruption, climate cooling had already commenced before this time. This can be
observed through the ice core records of both Greenland and Antarctica where the
sulfuric layers deposited from the eruption have been restored. They show
another large layer of such substances due to a large eruption in 1808 which is
as yet undefined. Thus, the climate was already experiencing cooling. If the
Mount Tambora eruption had occurred when the global climate was warmer, it is
highly possible that the effects would have been far less harsh.
"The 'awful internal thunderings of the mountain' continued with scarcely any
intermission until the 11th of July, when they became more moderate, the
intervals between them gradually increasing until the 15th of July, when they
ceased. Almost all the villages for a long distance round the mountain were
destroyed. By far the greatest part of this destruction was wrought by the
violence of the whirlwind which accompanied the eruption."
- Henry & Elizabeth Stommel: Volcano Weather: The Story of 1816, the
Year without a Summer, Newport RI 1983
- Hans-Erhard Lessing: Automobilitaet: Karl Drais und die unglaublichen
Anfaenge, Leipzig 2003
- [Global Volcanism Program entry]
Mount Tambora still in alert status
Mon, September 12 2011 21:16 |
Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Mount Tambora is still on Alert
III status since September 8, 2011, due to its high volcanic activities, a
local climatology officer said here Monday.
Mount Tambora. (blog.indojunkers.com)
"The status remains, no
change," the mineral and geology chief of the mining and energy office
Visual monitoring and volcanic activities still
continues to anticipate any factors that might increase the mount`s status
in the future.
The volcanology and mitigation agency also
categorized the most affected areas into three disaster-prone areas, namely
prone area III (three kilometers radius from the crater), prone area II
(five kilometers from the crater) and prone area I (eight kilometers).
Hot clouds, lava flow, toxic gas, hot rock avalanches and heavy ash rain
are threatening prone area III.
Prone area II has been worsened with
added threats of high water acidity and cold lava flow, while prone area I
is facing a threat of lava, ash rain and stone avalanches.
Muhammaddin also said that people are living within the prone area, and the
agency had also called on the people not to conduct any activities anywhere
in the designated areas.
Mount Tambora`s status was heightened from
Normal to Alert as of August 30, 2011, while on September 5 a blast crater
10 meters high was reported with white thin smoke gushing from the crater`s
Besides visual observation an increase in seismic activity from
30 August to 6 September is also reported with 5-15 volcanic earthquakes,
1-7 shallow volcanic earthquakes, 1-4 local tectonic earthquakes, and 2-13
distant tectonic earthquakes.
Some 1-6 "low frequency" earthquakes
were also reported accompanied by tremors with an amplitude of 0.5 to 9
millimeters (mostly one millimeter) each day.
On September 7, there
was a significant increase in seismic activity mainly in volcanic
earthquakes, and 32 incidents in just six hours, and shallow volcanic quakes
which may increase in greater volcanic activity.
Based on the
development, the Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation agency raised the
status of Mount Tambora the next day from alert II to III.
Tambora is a type-A volcano because it is still active since 1600, and
located in Dompu and Bima district, West Nusa Tenggara province, and has a
height of 2815 meters above sea level.
Mount Tambora was known in
volcanic history for its mega eruption in 1815, which buried three
Indonesian kingdoms namely Pekat, Tambora and Sanggar killing around 92
Editor: Priyambodo RH
COPYRIGHT © 2011
Indonesia’s Mount Tambora volcano alert level
By Lynn Herrmann.
- Increased rumblings this month from Mount Tambora on
Indonesia’s Sumbawa Island are forcing residents to take the mountain
seriously, with authorities there raising the volcano alert to its
“On August 30, we recorded seven volcanic earthquakes and since Sept.
8 the frequency of the quakes rose substantially, to between 12 and 16
per day,” said Husnuddin, head of the West Nusa Tenggara Disaster
Mitigation Agency, (BNPB), the
Mount Tambora has the distinction of having the world’s deadliest
eruption which killed at least 71,000 people, with some estimates as
high as 90,000. Between 11,000-12,000 were killed by the eruption
itself while tens of thousands more died from the ensuing starvation
and disease associated with volcanic fallout which created the “Year
Without a Summer” in 1816, a summer which greatly impacted the
Northern Hemisphere, including North America and Europe.
The heightened alert status means an eight-kilometer exclusion zone
has been imposed. “We fear there will be toxic gas as a direct result
of the increased activity,” said Abdul Haris with the Mount Tambora
observatory, according to Jakarta Globe.
has conducted meetings with leaders of the three districts
surrounding Mount Tambora - Bima, Dompu and Sumbawa. In Pekat and
Tambora, two subdistricts of Dompu, evacuation routes were being
discussed in case the alert is raised to its highest level. Four
villages located in Pekat and Tambora lie within eight kilometers of
Indonesia is situated in the
Pacific Ring of Fire
and has around 130 active volcanoes. Mount
Tambora lies about 200 miles north of the ring's Java Trench.
Map courtesy US Geological Survey
Map of Pacific Ring of Fire.
– A 5.1 magnitude
earthquake has struck the subduction plate of the
ocean crust southwest of where the Mount Tambora
volcano is located. According to the USGS, the
earthquake had a depth of 44 km (27 miles) and the
epicenter was 168 km (104 miles) SW of Bima,
Sumbawa, Indonesia. Seismic tension and volcanic
activity have escalated around Indonesia in the
past month as volatility in the south Pacific Ring
of Fire continues to build. –The
Mt. Tambora Rumblings Put Indonesia on
Alert: Big Pic
Sep 23, 2011 03:00 AM ET
Sept. 23, 2011 — Will the site of the world's deadliest
volcano erupt with deadly force again?
Increased rumblings from Indonesia's Mount Tambora have experts
asking that question. Given the potential consequences, experts
have raised the volcano alert to its second-highest level.
The 1815 volcanic eruption at Mount Tambora was the largest one
in recorded history. It killed at least 71,000 people. The sulfur
dioxide and other chemicals that the eruption spewed into the
atmosphere blocked sunlight and cooled the Earth, creating the
"Year Without a Summer."
Experts are now saying that the volcano is ready to erupt
again. A sequence of earthquakes has "been shaking the island at
increasing frequency since April," according to
the Washington Post.
No one knows how big the eruption may be. Some predict it is
unlikely to repeat the deadly killing blast of the past.
Nonetheless, "active disaster preparedness is underway with
evacuation routes mapped and armed forces pre-deployed if the
worst occurs (alert status reaching the highest level)," according
to the Washington Post.
May 12, 2012
Like Pompeii, evidence shows a human
settlement frozen in time by volcanic pyroclastic
In 1980, people began to take
notice when workers from a commercial logging
company began dredging up pottery fragments and
bones in an area near the little village of
Pancasila on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.
Other locals began finding coins, brassware and
charred timber in the same region, all buried
beneath a thick layer of volcanic deposits. The
finds were not far from the foot of the Tambora
volcano, a volcano that, in April of 1815,
produced the largest eruption in recorded history.
In fact, so intense was the eruption, it's
atmospheric effects influenced weather patterns
across faraway Europe and North America. And in
one evening alone, it destroyed at least one
entire village kingdom near its feet.
Acting on the discovery of these finds in 2004,
Volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson of the
University of Rhode Island began investigating the
jungle-shrouded area by using Ground Penetrating
Radar. He identified a complete house buried under
2-3 metres of pyroclastic flow and surge deposits.
Although it was entirely charred, its form was
well preserved, making it possible to distinguish
beams and bamboo floors. Artifacts found inside
the structure included Chinese porcelain, iron
tools and copper bowls. Two victims were also
discovered; one complete skeleton was found by the
hearth in the kitchen area and the second, which
was very badly damaged, identifiable only by the
leg and a vertebra, was found on the porch.
Sigurdsson's discovery touched off a series of
formal excavations beginning in 2006 and
continuing to this day under the direction of Dr
M. Geria of the Bali Institute for Archaeology.
What they have found are, like the remains of
Pompeii, the charred but remarkably well-preserved
remains of house structures, human bodies, and
many of the accoutrements of life frozen in their
last moments of time. In 2008, a house was
uncovered containing a male skeleton sitting
upright, adorned with a copper tobacco box tied to
his waist and a ceremonial spear at his side. He
wore rings inlaid with precious stones, a bracelet
on his wrist, and a large brass pendulum necklace
around his neck. During the 2009 excavation
season, another carbonized house was discovered,
this time with a body lying just outside under the
volcanic debris, with his left arm held up to his
head, perhaps in a (failed) attempt to protect
himself from the falling pumice. In 2011, the
remains of half of a house were identified.
One victim who was discovered during the
His left arm is held up to
his head perhaps in a (failed) attempt to protect
himself from falling pumice. The carbonized
beams of the house are also shown
"Based on the artefacts found, particularly the
many bronze objects and jewels, evidence suggests
the site was once inhabited by the wealthy or an
elite who had grown prosperous through trade" says
Emma Johnston, a member of the investigative team
and a Ph.D candidate with Bristol University
"Historical evidence supports this
theory, as Tamborans historically were known in
the East Indies for their honey, horses, red dye
and sandalwood. The design and decoration of the
artefacts suggest that the Tamboran culture was
linked to Vietnam and Cambodia."
The principal investigators hope to learn not
only more about this buried kingdom, which they
estimate counted about 10,000 people, but also
about the flow of events and activities that
described the details about how they met their
Says Johnston: "We know from the excavations
and deposit stratigraphy that the houses were
mostly inhabited when the accumulating pumice fall
led to the collapse of the houses, trapping and
killing those inside. The evidence uncovered so
far indicates this was the fate of all victims
identified so far."
The investigaive team will be returning to the
site again in 2012. They will have their work cut
out for them. "The excavations thus far have only
scratched the surface", states Johnston. "The rich
finds suggest that there is much more waiting to
be discovered at the site."
A detailed article about the eruption and the
excavation and study of the lost village kingdom
of Tambora will be published in the June issue