The eruption of Mount Tambora

By: Alia Smith

What was Mount Tambora?

Mount Tambora is a mountain in Indonesia that had the largest volcanic eruption in history in 1815. Volcanoes are a vent in the Earth crust which lead to eruptions of molten rock, hot rock fragments, and hot gases. The volcano mountain now is 2,851 meters because of the eruption. The volcano is still active.

(The photo is from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/science/mount-tambora-volcano-eruption-1815.html?_r=0)

What were the outcomes of the eruption?

Between the years 1816 and 1818 you would be hungry because the year without summer was a 3 year crisis that frosted the harvests and the droughts turned into floods. This volcano erupted for 4 months getting the name, “the largest volcanic explosion” in history. Many people died that lived close to the eruption. The ash and aerosol was put in the atmosphere which darkened the sky and the sun was not visible. The large pieces erupted out the volcano fell down covering nearby towns with ash that could collapse a house. Reports were made that stated that there was several feet of ash floating on the ocean surface. Ships had to push through the ash to get to places. The blast of Mount Tambora was followed by tsunamis. More than 10,000 islanders were killed and 35,000 homes more were destroyed.

What food crisis's were there?

In 1816 a majority of world’s population was relying on subsistence agriculture. They would live off of the harvest, but the harvest failed that year and the year to follow. The rural regions in China and Ireland left the countryside to go to towns and beg. They would even sell their kids for food. Diseases from the famine like cholera and typhus were all over from India to Italy. The world’s staple foods, bread and rice, skyrocketed. Stress from not having enough food lead to violence. Riots came in come counties in England. Armed laborers would carry around flags that said, “Bread or Blood” and they would march, holding people hostage and fighting battles against the militia.

On the bright side

The summerless summer weather inspired writers. During this summer, Mary Shelley and her husband (poet) Percy Bysshe Shelley, and (poet) Lord Byron were on vacation at Lake Geneva. They were inside for many days due to the rain and gloom. These writers described the darkness in this time in their own ways. Mary wrote a horror novel called Frankenstein which was set in a stormy environment. Lord Byron wrote a poem during this time. The poem started with, " I had a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguish'd."

(The photo is from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/472666923368273941/)


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  • "Mount Tambora and the Year Without a Summer." Mount Tambora and the Year Without a Summer. UCAR, 2016. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
  • The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Mount Tambora." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 16 Oct. 2015. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.
  • Wood, Gillen D'Arcy. "Gillen D’Arcy Wood, “1816, The Year without a Summer”." BRANCH. Branch, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.