Did You Know...
On April 10, 1815, the Tambora Volcano produced the largest eruption in recorded history. An estimated 150 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of tephra—exploded rock and ash—resulted, with ash from the eruption recognized at least 1,300 kilometers (808 miles) away to the northwest. While the April 10 eruption was catastrophic, historical records and geological analysis of eruption deposits indicate that the volcano had been active between 1812 and 1815. Enough ash was put into the atmosphere from the April 10 eruption to reduce incident sunlight on the Earth’s surface, causing global cooling, which resulted in the 1816 “year without a summer.”
Only 26 of the island's original 12 000 inhabitants survived. In all, the eruption, accompanying earthquakes and subsequent starvation caused the deaths of more than 90 000 people.
Ash fallout from this eruption was widespread with one centimetre recorded as much as 900 kilometres from the vent. The climatic effects from this eruption were dramatic, both in the region and globally. In Europe and parts of the United States, 1815 became known as the year without summer. Overall, the global average temperature is estimated to have fallen by 0.4°C to 0.7°C with the cooler temperatures triggering widespread famine, starvation and disease.
In 2004, scientists discovered the remains of a village, and two adults buried under approximately 3 meters (nearly 10 feet) of ash in a gully on Tambora’s flank—remnants of the former Kingdom of Tambora preserved by the 1815 eruption that destroyed it. The similarity of the Tambora remains to those associated with the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius has led to the Tambora site’s description as “the Pompeii of the East.”
Resources: history.com, explorevolcanosnow.com, ga.gov.au, various magazines