Dark Summer

This month is the 200th anniversary of the eruption of Mount Tambora, on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia. It is an active volcano at an active subduction zone between two tectonic plates and rises to 4,300 m.

272px-Indonesia_relief_location_map   th-1

After a large magma chamber inside the mountain filled over the course of several decades, volcanic activity reached a climax in the eruption of 10 April 1815, the largest eruption ever recorded.

th-1   th

At least 71,000 people died, of whom 12,000 were killed directly by the eruption.

th-3   th-2

Within a few months the dust cloud had spread around the northern hemisphere and caused a “volcanic winter”. This was followed in 1816 by the “Year Without a Summer”. Crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.

The catastrophe inspired the teenager Mary Shelley to write her story of Frankenstein

th-2  th-4  th-3

1234573_10151617777643857_2027361718_n  frank_thumb