1815 eruption of Mount Tambora

Catastrophic volcanic eruption in present-day Indonesia

The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora was the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded human history, with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 7. The eruption ejected 160–213 cubic kilometres (38–51:cu:mi) of material into the atmosphere. It is the most recently known VEI-7 event and the most recent confirmed VEI-7 eruption.

Mount Tambora is on the island of Sumbawa in present-day Indonesia, then part of the Dutch East Indies. Although its eruption reached a violent climax on 10 April 1815, increased steaming and small phreatic eruptions occurred during the next six months to three years. The ash from the eruption column dispersed around the world and lowered global temperatures in an event sometimes known as the Year Without a Summer in 1816. This brief period of significant climate change triggered extreme weather and harvest failures in many areas around the world. Several climate forcings coincided and interacted in a systematic manner that has not been observed after any other large volcanic eruption since the early Stone Age.

Contents

Chronology of the eruption

Current topography of Sumbawa The estimated volcanic ashfall regions during the 1815 eruption. The red areas show thickness of volcanic ash fall. The outermost region (1:cm (1⁄2:in) thickness) reached Borneo and Sulawesi.

Mount Tambora experienced several centuries of dormancy before 1815, caused by the gradual cooling of hydrous magma in its closed magma chamber. Inside the chamber at depths between 1.5 and 4.5 kilometres (5,000 and 15,000:ft), the exsolution of a high-pressure fluid magma formed during cooling and crystallisation of t... ...read more

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