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Der Spiegel reports on the growling-ever-louder Indonesian Merapi volcano in an article titled: Geologists Warning of Mega-Eruption of Merapi. The Merapi eruptions are becoming more violent – and the big bang could be just ahead. The Indonesian volcano has been spewing 800°C ash clouds for days.
Investigations of the volcano have revealed that an unprecedented Magma reservoir lurks underneath it, says Birger Lühr, a volcano researcher at the GFZ in Potsdam, Germany.
A rough estimate indicates that there is three times more magma than what was ejected by the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 – the biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, which led to a cooling of the climate globally.Geoscientists aren’t sure what to make of this huge magma reservoir. As Der Spiegel reports, they are hesitant to make predictions of catastrophe (That’s only done in climate science, even though the odds are far less).
Word of a ‘mega-eruption’ is making the rounds among scientists. But apparently they are avoiding the use of the word to avoid being labelled preachers of disasters.
"the bright sun was extinguish'd... morn came and went--and came, and brought no day"
-Darkness by George Gordon, Lord Byron
On April 10, 1815, a series of eruptions began, culminating to the largest eruption in recorded history. The eruption lasted several days. It blew a chunk off of the mountain almost a mile wide. The volcanic column, after flying 40 km into the sky, returned to the ground, creating a huge pyroclastic flow of ash, pumice, and debris. The pyroclastic flow alone killed more than 10,000 people in its path. The ash that fell from Tambora travelled as far as 1300 km (800 miles) away.
When the pyroclastic flow reached the ocean, the debris created such a large displacement of water that tsunamis as high as 5 meters emanated out from the island. These tsunamis caused flooding, devastation, and death on many of the other Indonesian islands.
After the eruption was over, and estimated 100-150 cubic kilometers of ash and debris were said to have been ejected from the mountain.
The Year without a Summer
In 1816, the overal temperature on Earth, specifically in the Northern Hemisphere, lowered so drastically that it became known as the year without a summer. Weather was disturbed all over, with problems in Western Europe and the United States, as well as Asia. Monsoon season was affected, which is thought to also be tied to a cholera epidemic that year. In places like New England and Canada, frost was recorded in every month of the year, and snow fell in June. This phenomenon is known as global cooling.
The summer temperatures in 1816 averaged just a few degrees below normal, but as mentioned, it frosted throughout the summer. The highs were still close to 100 degreed Fahrenheit on some days. However, the cold spells, especially at night, cause massive crop failure, and, as a result, even more famine.
Meanwhile, worries are growing over two other volcanoes that are showing increased activity.
Mount Semeru in Lumajang, East Java, has been almost continuously active since 1967 and on Thursday morning it spewed smoke 100 meters into the air. In Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara, authorities have warned of increased activity at Mount Egon.
“Since Wednesday the mountain has been shrouded in a thick cloud emanating from the crater,” said Suryanto, head of the Egon observation post.
Two other mountains in East Nusa Tenggara — Rokatenda and Lewotobi — are also reported to be exhibiting increased activity.