Article 1. Tambora’s Rising Volcanic Activity Causes Few Concerns
September 02, 2011, Jakarta Globe, Fitri R.
“Dompu, West Nusa Tenggara. Residents who have spent most of their lives living on the slopes of Indonesia’s infamous Mount Tambora volcano are unfazed by the rumblings they are increasingly feeling from underneath the earth and warnings from the authorities.
The status of Tambora, responsible for by far the deadliest eruption in human history, was raised at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to the second-highest alert status. Located on Sumbawa island just east of Lombok, the volcano first starting showing signs of awakening in April. In early August, it spewed thick, white smoke 20 meters into the sky.
Despite the activity, residents said they were not worried, according to Syaifullah, the head of the Pekat subdistrict, which lies on the mountain’s slope.
“The hundreds of families in the villages and hamlets that lay between five to 10 kilometers from the peak have not shown any panic and continue to conduct their daily activity as usual,” Syaifullah said.
Authorities have not ordered any evacuations and have only warned residents to be on alert. Two villages, Pancasila and Doro Peti, are situated within five kilometers of Tambora’s peak.
The volcano’s April 10, 1815, eruption killed more than 90,000 people, including those who died in the aftermath of the event from famine and disease. It is estimated to have had a Volcanic Explosivity Index value of 7, the only such explosion since the Hatepe eruption in New Zealand in 180 AD and only the fifth in human history.
Classified as a “supercolossal event,” Tambora’s 1815 eruption ejected immense amounts of volcanic dust into the upper atmosphere, significantly impacting the global climate for many years afterward. In Indonesia, the volcano’s roar could be heard more than 800 miles away.
Dust and sulfur emitted by the volcano are thought to be the cause of the “Year Without a Summer” in Europe and the Americas in 1816, which caused massive crop failures and widespread famine.
There is a possibility that an explosion of the same scale could happen again. Despite the magnitude of the 1815 event, though, residents have some cause for optimism. The volcano has erupted three times since 1815, but none of those events achieved a VEI value of more than 2.
The province is planning a bicentenary commemoration in 2015 of the eruption of the volcano. Infrastructure improvements were being carried out across the province to be completed by 2015, including the construction of a new port.”
Article 2. April 10, 1815: Tambora Explosion Triggers ‘Volcanic Winter’
04.10.09, Wired.com, By Randy Alfred
“1815: Tambora volcano in the East Indies erupts with a mighty roar. It sends enough pulverized rock into the atmosphere to disrupt weather around the globe for more than a year.
Tambora sits on Sumbawa Island, east of Java in what is today Indonesia. Geological evidence shows it probably hadn’t erupted in 5,000 years. But the volcano literally steamed into life sometime in 1814, and perhaps as early as 1812. Molten underground magma interacted with ground water, and the
volcano expelled steam, ash and rocks.
Tambora exploded on April 5, 1815 — an eruption of sufficient force to make the history books on its own. Ash fell on eastern Java. More than 800 miles away, people heard a roar that sounded like thunder.
Just a foretaste. The big show began April 10. Three columns of fire were seen towering into the sky. By the next day Tambora had ejected about 12 cubic miles of magma into the air.
But the mountain’s solid towering peak was also gone. The eruption left a deep summit crater, with a rim 4,100 feet lower than the peak had once been. People in Surabaya, 300 miles away on Java, felt the earth move — possibly the result of the caldera collapse.
Between the magma ejected from below and the pulverized mountaintop above, Tambora sent more than 36 cubic miles of pulverized rock into the atmosphere. The ash falling on islands nearby immediately suffocated crops. That alone probably killed 92,000 people.
The cloud of ash that was fine and light enough to stay in the atmosphere circled the globe. Average temperatures dropped as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the next year … and beyond. Many Europeans and North Americans called 1816 the “year without a summer.”
Snow fell in New England and Eastern Canada in June. (Quebec City got a foot of the stuff.) Frost was recorded in each of the summer months. Drought struck in July and August, and the sunlight was weak. Crops were stunted or failed entirely. Much of what survived and looked near to harvest was killed off by a September frost.
Europe was very cold and very rainy. Ash fell with snow. Rivers flooded. Britain, France, Switzerland and Germany lost harvests and suffered famine. The Napoleonic Wars had caused food shortages, and now there were riots and looting, then an epidemic. Some 200,000 people died in Eastern and Southern Europe from a combination of typhus and hunger.
Asia and India experienced heavy monsoons, cold temperatures and frost. Rice production fell. China suffered famine, and India was hit with a cholera epidemic.
(A similar climatic event caused by the Icelandic volcano Laki a generation earlier had also chilled the Northern Hemisphere and killed thousands by starvation.)
The only silver lining to this dark and lethal cloud: The failure of the oat crop in Germany made maintaining horses expensive … and led to invention of the bicycle.”
Source: U.S. Geological Survey.
[Magma seems to be rising under a string of volcanos in Indonesia, leading to the possibility of multiple eruptions within a short period of time. Mr Larry]
Article 3. Increased activity at 22 volcanoes, alert raised
Sat, 3 Sep 2011, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, by Adianto P. Simamora
The government has requested that local administrations remain on the alert for severe risks of volcanic eruptions, as the number of volcanoes showing abnormal activity continued to raise. As of Friday, activity in 22 volcanoes was categorized as above normal, with six at alert level three and 16 at level two. Volcano status ranges from level one, which is normal, to four, which is the highest alert.
The Volcanology and Geophysical Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) raised the status of Papandayan, one of the major tourist destinations in Garut, West Java, to alert level three on Friday.
“There were 48 shallow volcanic earthquakes detected, with one deep volcanic earthquake and a white cloud emitted as high as 20 meters on Thursday,” National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
Sutopo added that his office had prepared contingency plans to anticipate worst-case scenarios if Papandayan erupts. “If Papandayan erupts, it would impact 171,744 people living in the five subdistricts and 20 villages,” he said.
Indonesia has been dubbed the world’s most disaster-prone country for its frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, floods and droughts. Indonesia lies in the “Ring of Fire”, where dozens of volcanoes are still active.
A 2011 report from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) ranked Indonesia the third-most prone nation out of 153 countries for earthquakes, with 11,056,806 people exposed. It said that earthquake hazards could potentially cause a loss of US$79.13 billion to the nation’s GDP. A 2010 report from the World Bank ranks Indonesia as 12th among countries with relatively high mortality risks from the multiple hazards.
Mount Merapi, which erupted last year, caused a financial loss of Rp 3.59 trillion.
Sutopo said that his office had transferred Rp 444 billion to the Public Works Ministry to accelerate the rebuilding of infrastructure damaged by Mt. Merapi. “From that money, some Rp 232 billion was used to rebuild roads and bridges,” he said. The eruption of Mt. Merapi damaged at least 23 bridges, including Pabelan bridge connecting Yogyakarta and Magelang.
On Thursday, the government elevated the status of three volcanoes: Tombora, Lewatobi Perempuan and Anak Rakana in Nusa Tenggara. Tombora, in Bima Regency, experienced 14 shallow volcanic earthquakes. Tambora erupted in 1815, killing about 71,000. The eruption emitted some 100 cubic kilometers of volcanic material across Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku.
Activity at Lewotobi Perempuan in Flores increased as well, experiencing 24 earthquakes on Thursday. There were only five the day before. Lewotobi last erupted in 1935.