Tambora and Puting Peninsula

Largest historical volcanic eruption, world’s largest lizard, and synchronous fruiting

I. Map boundaries: 0 to 10 degrees South; 112 to 120 degrees East

II. Country (Provinces): Indonesia (Bali, Central Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, East Java, East Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara [Southeast Islands], South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, West Kalimantan, West Southeast Islands, West Sulawesi).

III. Highlights

A. Sumbawa

At Mount Tambora, on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, about 30 cubic kilometers of the upper part of the volcano is missing. This is because the largest and deadliest volcanic eruption in recorded history took place here, on April 10, 1815. The explosion was heard up to 2600 km away, and darkness lasted for up to two days within 600 km of the volcano. Due to a monsoon blowing from the east, most of the ash fall was west of the volcano, covering Sumbawa, Lombok, and East Java. The original height of the mountain exceeded 4300 m; today its height is 2850 m, about two-thirds of its original height. The Flores Sea was littered with large rafts of pumice (up to several km in width) mixed with ash and uprooted trees. Debris flows reached the ocean, creating a tsunami which traveled at 70 m/s and reached eastern Java in less than two hours. The ash depth on Lombok, more than 200 km west of Tambora, reached 60 cm. Because the ash reached the stratosphere, it spread worldwide in about three months, and persistent haze persisted through 1816. To Europeans and Americans, 1816 was the year without a summer. The weather was cold, with snow and frost in the summer, and the mean worldwide temperature dropped 0.4 to 0.7 degree C in 1816. There may also have been a monsoon failure in India in 1816. Approximately 88,000 people are known to have perished on Sumbawa and Lombok (Stothers 1984). Continue reading