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Banda Api

Volcano
Eruption of Banda Api in 1988 - a large fissure has cut the island in half, producing dense ash emissions and lava flows on both sides that destroyed the village of Batu Angus on the north flank (image: Tom Casadevall / USGS)
Eruption of Banda Api in 1988 - a large fissure has cut the island in half, producing dense ash emissions and lava flows on both sides that destroyed the village of Batu Angus on the north flank (image: Tom Casadevall / USGS)
Banda Api volcano forms a small isolated 3-km-wide island in the Banda Sea, Indonesia, 130 km south of Makulu Island. The volcano rises 4000 m from the sea floor and is the most recent and very active cone of a 7 km wide volcanic caldera mostly under water. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the region and is known for violent activity including tall ash emissions, lava fountaining, strombolian explosions and occasional lava flows, some of which which have reached the sea. Because of its (for Indonesia) unusually effusive behavior and frequent activity, Banda Api has also been given the nickname "Etna of the Banda Sea".
Volcano typecaldera normal or dormant
LocationIndonesia
Summit elevation640 m / 2,100 ft
Banda Api volcano eruptions1988, 1901, 1890, 1855, 1835, 1825 (?), 1824, 1820, 1816, 1778, 1775, 1773,
1765, 1762, 1749, 1722, 1712, 1690, 1683, 1635, 1632, 1615, 1614 (?), 1609, 1598, 1586
Typical eruption styleExplosive
Despite its remote location, Banda Api ranks among the volcanoes in Indonesia with the best documented history (since 1586), thanks to its strategic position at a cross-road of the Portuguese and Dutch spice trade sailing routes.

The caldera has 3 other islands forming the southern and eastern walls: Lonthor, Pisang and Kapal.

Banda Api is the NE-most volcano in the Sunda-Banda volcanic arc. Its lavas are mainly basaltic-to-rhyodacitic in composition.

At least two episodes of caldera formation are believed to have occurred, with the arcuate islands of Lonthor and Neira considered to be remnants of the pre-caldera volcanoes.

Among divers, the surrounding waters are (have been?) famous for the specatcularly large numbers of sea snakes that used to be found here mating in swarms of thousands.
 

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