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On This Day… The Eruption Of Mount Tambora

Written by: George Chittenden : 15 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 10th April, back in 1815 when one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded history occurred. Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in present-day Indonesia began erupting five days earlier on April 5th, and then at 7pm on April 10th the eruption strengthened, and three columns of flame rose up and merged. The entire mountain turned into a flowing mass of liquid fire.

The volcano released approximately forty-one cubic kilometres of pyroclastic trachyandesite weighing an eye-watering ten billion tonnes, killing tens of thousands of people! Before the eruption the mountain was 14,100 ft high, one of the tallest in the Indonesian archipelago, but the eruption reduced it to a mere 9,354 ft. Surprisingly the eruption was heard 2,600 kilometres away.

Smaller eruptions continued for three years, and the eruption of Mount Tambora had a huge effect across the globe. The ash column that dispersed into the atmosphere lowered global temperatures so much that 1816 is often referred to as the year without summer. The ash blocked out precious UV light causing harvest failures in many areas around the world.

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