Tambora volcano

stratovolcano 2850 m / 9,350 ft
Sumbawa, Indonesien, -8.25°S / 118°E
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5)
Last update: 29 May 2016
The large caldera of Tambora volcano seen from the air
The large caldera of Tambora volcano seen from the air

On 10 April 1815, Tambora produced the largest eruption known on the planet during the past 10,000 years. The volcano erupted more than 50 cubic kilometers of magma. Caldera collapse at the end of the eruption destroyed 30 km3 of the mountain and formed a 6 km wide and 1250 m deep caldera.
FLoating islands of pumice 3 miles long were observed in April 1815, and even 4 years later, these islands still hindered navigation.
The eruption produced global climatic effects and killed more than 100,000 people, directly and indirectly. Minor lava domes and flows have been extruded on the caldera floor at Tambora during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Show interactive Map
[hide map] [enlarge]
Typical eruption style: Explosive
Tambora volcano eruptions: 1967, 1880, 1812-15 (largest known eruption in historic times, VEI 7)

TimeMag. / DepthDistance/Location
Saturday, October 23, 2021 00:32 GMT (1 earthquake)
Oct 23, 2021 8:32 am (GMT +8) (Oct 23, 2021 00:32 GMT)
3.6

10 km
5.6 km (3.5 mi)
Pulau Sumbawa, 55 km northwest of Dompu, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Background

The massive Tambora stratovolcano forms the entire 60-km-wide Sanggar Peninsula on northern Sumbawa Island. The volcano originally grew to about 4000 m elevation before a major explosion destroyed its summit and left a pre-1815 caldera more than 43,000 years ago. Lava flows had largely filled the early caldera by about 10,000 years ago, before its activity changed to dominantly explosive eruptions, culminating in the 1815 eruption.

The eruption in 1815 emptied about 50-150 cubic km of magma and measures 7 on the VEI scale. It produced a giant plinian eruption column, which is estimated to have reached more 40-50 km altitude, ejecting large amounts of ash and aerosols into the stratosphere.
Pyroclastic flows reached the sea on all sides of the peninsula, and heavy tephra fall devastated croplands, causing an estimated 60,000 fatalities. Entire villages were buried under thick pumice deposits. Some of the settlements have recently been brought back to light by archaeological excavations, making the site a "Pompeii of Indonesia". Large tsunamis with wave heights of 10 or more meters might have occurred.
While the death toll of people living on Sumbawa and surrounding coastal areas was high enough, even more fatalities can be attributed to the indirect effect of global climate deterioration after the eruption. These changes turned 1816 into the "year without a summer" for much of Europe, causing widespread famine. It is estimated that it caused the death of over 100,000 people.
The reason for the climatic changes was increased absorption of sunlight due to a veil of aerosols (consisting mostly of tiny droplets of H2SO3 acid, formed by SO2 release) that were dispersed around both hemispheres by stratospheric currents from the tall eruption column. Global temperatures dropped by as much as 3 deg C in 1816 and recovered during the following years.
It is also believed that the eruption produced tsunamis with waves possibly as high as 10 meters.

Tambora Photos

The summit caldera of Tambora volcano (Sumbawa Island, Indonesia), formed during the 1815 eruption (Photo: ThomasH)
The summit caldera of Tambora volcano (Sumbawa Island, Indonesia), formed during the 1815 eruption (Photo: ThomasH)
The summit caldera of Tambora volcano (Sumbawa Island, Indonesia), formed during the 1815 eruption (Photo: ThomasH)
The summit caldera of Tambora volcano (Sumbawa Island, Indonesia), formed during the 1815 eruption (Photo: ThomasH)
The mightly caldera of Tambora volcano - the site of the largest known historic volcanic explosion in the world: the volcano was decapitated during its violent explosion in 1815. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The mightly caldera of Tambora volcano - the site of the largest known historic volcanic explosion in the world: the volcano was decapitated during its violent explosion ...
The summit caldera of Tambora volcano (Sumbawa Island, Indonesia), formed during the 1815 eruption (Photo: ThomasH)
The summit caldera of Tambora volcano (Sumbawa Island, Indonesia), formed during the 1815 eruption (Photo: ThomasH)
 



See also: Sentinel hub | Landsat 8
Show more
Try our free app!
Volcanoes & Earthquakes - new app for Android
Android | iOS version

More on VolcanoDiscovery

Why is there advertising on this site?
Support us - Help us upgrade our services!
We truly love working to bring you the latest volcano and earthquake data from around the world. Maintaining our website and our free apps does require, however, considerable time and resources.
We need financing to increase hard- and software capacity as well as support our editor team. We're aiming to achieve uninterrupted service wherever an earthquake or volcano eruption unfolds, and your donations can make it happen! Every donation will be highly appreciated. If you find the information useful and would like to support our team in integrating further features, write great content, and in upgrading our soft- and hardware, please make a donation (PayPal or Online credit card payment).

Planned features:
  • Improved multilanguage support
  • Tsunami alerts
  • Faster responsiveness
Thanks to your past donations, these features have been added recently:
  • Earthquake archive from 1900 onwards
  • Detailed quake stats
  • Additional seismic data sources
Download and Upgrade the Volcanoes & Earthquakes app to get one of the fastest seismic and volcano alerts online:
Android | IOS
Thank you!
Copyrights: VolcanoDiscovery and other sources as noted.
Use of material: Most texts and images, in particular photographs, on this website are protected by copyright. Further reproduction and use of without authorization is usually not consented. If you are not sure or need licensing rights for photographs, for example for publications and commercial use, please contact us.