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Mt. Tambora

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  • Pages: 4
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  • Category: Volcano

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In the year 1816, there were world-wide events no one could explain. In Europe and North America, there were epidemics and a bitter cold, called “The Year Without A Summer.”

In Ireland, there was an outbreak of Typhus, and in India, there was a rise in Chlorea outbreaks. In other parts of the world, there was frost, floods, or drought. Famine hit all the continents, and the legend of Frankenstein was thought to have been created in this year. These terrible events were caused by a catastrophic volcanic eruption that had happened a year earlier in 1815. This volcano spewed 400 million tons of sulphuric gas into the air, and blew a fourth of its top off. What volcano could have done this? Etna? Fuji? St. Helens? Krakatoa? No. The volcano’s name to remember is Tambora.

Marvelous Mt. Tambora

Mount Tambora is a volcano that resides on the island of Sumbawa, one of the lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. It also belongs to the Ring of Fire, which is home to more than 50 percent of the worlds volcanos. Mt. Tambora is now 9,000 feet after this terrible eruption, having lost 4,000 feet in 1815. As Robert Evans says in his Smithsonian article, “Blast from the Past,”The mountain’s name in the island’s native language is “gone”, due to “the people who have vanished on Tambora’s slopes,” states Robert Evans. This volcanic eruption is the greatest in recorded history, but how come the eruption is so little known? This is because in 1815, news traveled by boat from country to country, and few people survived the initial eruption alive. Sadly, this meant that, not many, if any information was received of this terrible eruption.

Tambora’s Fury

Sometime around 7 P.M. on April 10th, 1815, Tambora bellowed into action. Tambora’s tremendous temper tantrum blew a third of her top off, a good 4,000 feet and as Breegan Baldwin says in her article, “Terrible Tambora,” “Tambora exploded with so much fury that magma, ash, and rock, along with 400 million tons of sulphuric gas, were blown 25 to 30 miles into the stratosphere. Nearly everything and everyone on the island was immediately destroyed.”

Later on, she also says that, “The island world and everything for 400 miles went abruptly dark as ash, gas, and dust blocked out the Sun, and 15-foot tsunamis rolled through the seas.”

This Volcano’s fury is uncomparable to any volcano that we know of currently and killed an approximatley 10,000

people instantly, and another 107,000 in the effects of the fallout

around the globe. In “Terrible Tambora”, Breegan also says that “Tambora’s blast was so enormous that its gas and ash formed a Sun filter, significantly weakening the Sun’s light all over the globe.”This caused crop faliure and famine as well as the cold temperatures in Europe and North America.


189 years later, in 2004, a volcanologist and his team traveled to Tambora with a ground-penetrating radar, or GPR. They brought this tool to a gully where old bones and pottery were found. According to Breegan Baldwin, “The GPR helped the scientists make an amazing discovery — a ‘kingdom’ buried and forgotten since that terrible day in 1815. They found the first evidence of the lost culture — bronze bowls, melted glass, iron tools, the carbonized framework of a house, and the remains of a man and a woman who lay in their kitchen where they died.”Evidence suggests that the discovered kingdom was a wealthy city, of up to 10,000 people, possibly including a palace. Breegan says, “The blanket of volcanic ash covering the’kingdom’ is like the lid of a time capsule, waiting to be opened to teach us how the Tamborans lived, what they ate, what tools they used, and what they wore and that could answer many other questions for a people who cannot speak for themselves.” Possibly in the near future we could find more civilization and clues leading to what happened in the days before Tambora.

In conclusion, Tambora is the most powerful recorded volcano in history. Her eruption was devastating, and her fallout was unimaginable.

Haraldur Sigurdsson, a volcanologist from the University of Rhode Island, has said, ‘Somewhere on the Earth, within the next 1,000 years, there will be a comparable eruption.’one comforting fact about a next huge eruption is that not everyone relies on crops as food, and agiencies such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) have ways to aid people in need of food and water. Will The next major Volcanic eruption top Tambora’s fury? We may never know.

Works Cited

  1. Baldwin, Breegan. “Terrible Tambora.” Faces, vol. 25, no. 8, May 2009, p. 12. EBSCOhost, http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=12&sid=ca2df11b-5936-4b1b-b717-80e124292899%40sessionmgr4006&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=42740960&db=mih
  2. Evans, Robert. “Blast from the Past.” Smithsonian, vol. 33, no. 4, July 2002, p. 52. EBSCOhost, http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=14&sid=ca2df11b-5936-4b1b-b717-80e124292899%40sessionmgr4006&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=6897135&db=mih
  3. Dotinga, Randy. “‘Tambora’ Tells the Story of a Little-Known Volcano That Changed the World.” Christian Science Monitor, 22 May 2014, p. N.PAG. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=96169450&site=ehost-live
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