Tambora Volcano | John Seach


Sumbawa, Indonesia

8.25 S, 118.00 E
summit elevation 2850 m

Tambora erupted in 1815 killing 92 000 people making 1816 the year without a summer as the global climate effects were felt. Aerosols from the Tambora eruption blocked out sunlight and reduced global temperatures by 3 deg C. Europe missed a summer, and India had crop failures following the Tambora eruption. 100 cubic km of magma was erupted. Ten thousand people were killed immediately from the pyroclastic flows and the eventual toll due to starvation and disease may have been as high as 117,000. The eruption caused a tsunami with a wave height of 10 m.

2013 Unrest
Tambora volcano, Indonesia was raised to level 2 alert (waspada) on 5th April 2013 after an increase in seismic activity.

2011 Unrest
Tambora volcano in Indonesia has been raised to level 2 alert (out of maximum 4) on 30th August 2011 after an increase in volcanic earthquakes. Alert level 3 was issued on 8th September 2011. In April 2011 there were 37 shallow volcanic earthquakes recorded, 167 in May, 277 in June, 363 in July, and 141 from 1-29 August. Continuous tremor was recorded on 29 and 30 August. Tourists and locals are advised to avoid the summit area of Tambora volcano.

2010 Earthquake
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit 29 km NE of the summit of Tambora volcano on 8th May 2010. A magnitude 5.1 aftershock occurred an hour later.

2009 Earthquake
A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit 78 km east of Tambora volcano on 9th November 2009.

During 2004 a buried town was discovered near the volcano. It has been called the Pompeii of the East because of the preservation of human artifacts.

1815 Eruption
The eruption of Tambora volcano in 1815 is one of the largest explosive events in the world in the past 10,000 years. Before the eruption, Tambora had a 1400-1500 m relative height summit cone, sitting on a lava shield, giving an absolute height of 4300 m. The cone lost 1400 m in height during the eruption.

The eruption of Tambora commenced on 5th April 1815 with rumblings and small pyroclastic emissions. The main 24 hour long paroxysm occurred on 10th April 1815. a one hour Plinian phase was followed by pyroclastic flows which swept to the sea, and caldera collapse.

The sky remained dark for 1-2 days up to 600 km from the volcano. Pumic islands up to several kilometres long, drifted along the coast of Flores. A small tsunami reached the east coast of Java.

Further reading
Raible, Christoph C., et al. "Tambora 1815 as a test case for high impact volcanic eruptions: Earth system effects." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 7.4 (2016): 569-589.

Wood, G.D.A., 2014. Tambora: the eruption that changed the world. Princeton University Press.

Oppenheimer, C., 2003. Climatic, environmental and human consequences of the largest known historic eruption: Tambora volcano (Indonesia) 1815. Progress in physical geography27(2), pp.230-259.

Self, Stephen, et al. "Volcanological study of the great Tambora eruption of 1815." Geology 12.11 (1984): 659-663.

Tambora Volcano Eruptions

1967, 1880, 1812-15 (VEI 6-7).