Monday, July 27, 2009

Mount Tambora

Mount Tambora is an active stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, located on Sumbawa island, Indonesia. This raised Mount Tambora as high as 4,300 m (14,000 ft), making it one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago, and drained off a large magma chamber inside the mountain. It took centuries to refill the magma chamber, its volcanic activity reaching its peak in April 1815. Tambora erupted in 1815 with a rating of seven on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, making it the largest eruption since the Lake Taupo eruption in about 180 AD. The explosion was heard on Sumatra island (more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) away). Heavy volcanic ash falls were observed as far away as Borneo, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku islands. The death toll was at least 71,000 people (perhaps the most deadly eruption in history), of whom 11,000–12,000 were killed directly by the eruption;the often-cited figure of 92,000 people killed is believed to be an overestimate. During an excavation in 2004, a team of archaeologists discovered cultural remains buried by the 1815 eruption. They were kept intact beneath the 3 m (9.8 ft) deep pyroclastic deposits. At the site, dubbed the Pompeii of the East, the artefacts were preserved in the positions they had occupied in 1815.

Mount Tambora is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Tambora forms its own peninsula on Sumbawa, known as the Sanggar peninsula. At the north of the peninsula is the Flores Sea, and at the south is the 86 kilometres (53 mi) long and 36 kilometres (22 mi) wide Saleh Bay. At the mouth of Saleh Bay there is an islet called Mojo.
The mountain also attracts tourists for
hiking and wildlife activities. The two nearest cities are Dompu and Bima. There are three concentrations of villages around the mountain slope. At the east is Sanggar village, to the northwest are Doro Peti and Pesanggrahan villages, and to the west is Calabai village.
There are two ascent routes to reach the caldera. The first route starts from Doro Mboha village at the southeast of the mountain. This route follows a paved road through a cashew plantation until it reaches 1,150 metres (3,800 ft) above sea level. The end of this route is the southern part of the caldera at 1,950 metres (6,400 ft), reachable by means of a hiking track. The second route starts from Pancasila village at the northwest of the mountain. Using the second route, the caldera is accessible only by foot.

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