After I wrote about the eruption of Mount Sinabung, I wondered: how many volcanos exist in that region?
You might already know the answer: a lot. In Indonesia alone, there at least 150 volcanos. These include Lake Toba, whose massive eruption 75,000 years ago led to 6 six years of volcanic winter, and Krakatoa, whose explosion is considered the loudest sound in modern history. When Krakatoa erupted, the noise was heard in Perth, Australia – 1,930 miles (3,110 km) to the south.
Here’s a list of 10 of Sinabung’s neighboring volcanos:
Pictured above, Mount Semeru is the highest mountain on the island of Java. The volcano has erupted at least 55 times since 1818, and since 1967 Semeru has seen near continuous activity. Small eruptions occur about every 20 minutes.
Here’s another shot of Mount Bromo, again with Mount Semeru in the background. Mount Bromo is found in East Java, Indonesia, in the poetically named Sea of Sand. There’s an old story of volcanic sacrifice connected to this volcano:
On the fourteenth day of the Hindu festival of Yadnya Kasada, the Tenggerese people of Probolinggo, East Java, travel up the mountain in order to make offerings of fruit, rice, vegetables, flowers and sacrifices of livestock to the mountain gods by throwing them into the caldera of the volcano. The origin of the ritual lies in the 15th century legend where a princess named Roro Anteng started the principality of Tengger with her husband, Joko Seger. The couple were childless and therefore beseeched the assistance of the mountain gods. The gods granted them 24 children but stipulated that the 25th child, named Kesuma, must be thrown into the volcano as a human sacrifice. The gods’ request was implemented. The tradition of throwing sacrifices into the volcano to appease these ancient deities continues today and is called the Yadnya Kasada ceremony. (Wikipedia)
The photo above shows lightning striking during the 1982 eruption of Galunggung. That eruption was also notable for damaging two aircraft in transit. The first, a British Airways plane carrying 240 passengers, entered the ash cloud 150 km (93 mi) from the volcano. All four engines choked on the ash and failed. Sixteen minutes later, and after descending 7,500 m (24,606 ft), the crew managed to restart the engines and land safely.
The next month it happened again: a Singapore Airlines flight entered the ash cloud, lost three of its four engines. They successfully restarted one of the engines after descending 2,400 m (7,874 ft) and like the BA flight, landed safely. These accidents brought worldwide attention to the dangers of volcanic ash clouds and airplanes.
Kawah Ijen is noted for its turquoise-colored, highly acidic crater lake (the most acidic lake in the world) and for the sulfur that is mined around the crater. Mining sulfur from a volcanic crater looks just as unpleasant and unhealthy as you would imagine it to be. Workers collect and carry heavy baskets of sulfur from the crater about three kilometers to sell the mineral. Some do this twice a day.
Mount Merapi is another contender for Most Active Volcano in Indonesia – smoke billows from the mountain an average of 300 days per year, and small eruptions occur every 2-3 years. More violent eruptions occur every 10-15 years.
The last significant eruption of Rinjani was a small one in May, 2010. This helps tourism – the volcano and the caldera are part of the Gunung Rinjani National Park, and hikers frequently climb to visit the crater lake and hot springs. The caldera was formed in a 1257 eruption that may have triggered the Little Ice Age.
Mount Raung looks enormous in this photo, and it is – Raung stands 3,332 metres (10,932 ft) above sea level. Its dramatic appearance is enhanced by the lack of vegetation along the rim of its crater. This is another volcano described as one of the most active – for Java. The earliest recorded eruption was in 1586, the latest in 2002.
Anak Krakatau emerged from the sea in 1930. The devastating eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 (more powerful than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated) left an empty space in the water where much of the island had stood, and beginning in 1930, a few new islands took shape and disappeared here. Anak Kraktau survived the waves, and since the 1950s the volcano has grown an average of 5 inches (13 cm) per week.
Kelimutu stands in central Flores island. The volcano features three crater lakes of different, varying, and sometimes unbelievable colors: Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) is usually green, and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) is usually red. The second two are pictured above, and are divided by a shared crater wall.
Where’s the photo for Banua Wuhu? There is none.
Banua Wuhu is a submarine volcano located on the sea floor near the Sangihe Islands. Throughout history, Banua Wuhu has appeared and vanished several times: in 1835, a 90 m high island formed, but by 1848 it had largely disappeared. In 1889 another island formed; it also eroded in the surf. Thirty years later, in 1919, it emerged for the last time. History repeated itself, and by 1935, all evidence of Banua Wuhu had disappeared again beneath the waves.