Mount Tambora is rumbling Sept 19, 2011 18:59:15 GMT
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 19, 2011 18:59:15 GMT
Text below is extracted from an Associated Press story. Click on text to read the full article and to see related photos.
Villagers living on Tambora have heard since they were young how the mountain they call home once blew apart in the largest eruption ever recorded — an 1815 event widely forgotten outside their region — killing 90,000 people and blackening skies on the other side of the globe.
Aside from a few minor bursts in steam in the 1960s, the mountain has been quiet for much of the last 200 years.
Gede Suantika of the government’s Center for Volcanology said activity first picked up in April, with the volcanic quakes jumping from less than five a month to more than 200.
“It also started spewing ash and smoke into the air, sometimes as high as 1,400 meters (4,600 feet),” he said. “That’s something I’ve never seen it do before.”
The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 11 kilometers (7 miles) wide and 1 kilometer (half a mile) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to “the year without summer” in the U.S. and Europe.
It was 10 times more powerful than Indonesia’s much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history’s second deadliest. But it doesn’t share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo.
In contrast, Krakatoa’s eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event.
Little was known about Tambora’s global impact until the 1980s, when Greenland ice core samples — which can be read much like tree rings — revealed an astonishing concentration of sulfur at the layer dating back to 1816.
Gases had combined with water vapor to form fine droplets of acid that remained for years in the atmosphere, circling the earth and reflecting some of the solar radiation back into space.
Temperatures worldwide plummetted, causing crops to fail and leading to massive starvation.
Farmers on the northeastern coast of the U.S. reported snow well into July.
More in-depth article here