Eruption of Tambora

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Volcanoes offer a glimpse into the fiery interior of our planet. Unfortunately the awesome spectacle is also one of the most destructive forces of nature.

The world’s deadliest volcanic eruption occurred in 1815 when Mount Tambora on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia, exploded, killing an estimated 80,000 people and affecting the global climate.

Tambora was a dormant volcano for centuries before it suddenly erupted on the evening of 10th April. Three columns of flames rose to a great height before uniting at the top. An eye witness said, “In a short time, the whole mountain next to Sangir appeared like a body of liquid fire, extending itself in every direction.” 10,000 people died.

Within an hour, falling ash filled the air and pitch darkness descended on the land. The explosion was heard 2,600 km away, and ash fell upto a distance of 1,300 km. The lava spread at least 20 km from the summit. The volcano raged for two days, decimating the village of Tambora.

Before the eruption, Tambora measured about 4,300 m high. The volcano blew off its top leaving behind a massive crater measuring 6 –7 km wide and 600 –700 m deep. Now the mountain measures only 2,851 m high!

The volcano destroyed all vegetation on the island. Famine followed and thousands died of starvation and disease.

Fast facts

  • Mount Tambora’s gigantic crater can be seen from space via satellite!
  • In 2004, archeologists unearthed well preserved cultural remains of Tambora buried by the 1815 eruption under 3 m of lava. Tambora is now dubbed the Pompeii of the East!
  • The Laki volcano in Iceland (1783) killed 9,350 people, reducing 25% of the population!
  • The Vesuvius volcano of 79 AD buried the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
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