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December 11, 2011  

Indonesia, a must for volcanologist

Sidoarjo Mud 01
The Bromo Caldera in Java

The islands of Indonesia are among the newer pieces of real estate on the globe. They were formed only about fifteen million years ago., as a result of shifts of land under the ocean and volcanic eruptions.

Indonesia has some 155 centres of active volcanism. Among the archipelago, Java and Bali are the most active volcanic islands in the world with 20 of their volcanoes having been active in historical times.

In addition, 13 older volcanoes have active solfatara (vents emitting hydrogen sulphide and other sulphurus gases) and fumaroles (vents emitting high pressure steam and other gases.

Some peaks such as Semuru, Merapi Agung, and Ciremai have classic shapes, and some, such as Tengger and Batur, have dramatic calderas where the peak has been blown off leaving a plain or a lake with smaller peaks within.

Sidoarjo Mud volcano Cone
The Lake Batur in the largest worldwide volcano caldera, in Bali.

The Batur complex has been described as one of the world's largest and finest caldera. Volcanoes have played a crucial role in the geological and human history of Indonesia. Their impact has been positive because they create land through lava flows, ash deposits, and mud flows, forming thick layers of fertile sediment. But at the same time they have hurt, when they occured.

The world largest eruptions or geological events took place in Indonesia

The frequent geological activity is generating deadly events. Earthquakes are by far the cause of most of the causalties, either directly or indirectly, in some cases they generate another deadly event which are the tsunamis.

Everybody will remember the recent tsunami of December 26th, 2004, where more than 130,000 Indonesian of Sumatra, in the Aceh province, were found dead.

But we can retrieve in the archives of the Volcanology that among the largest known events on our planet, were the eruption of Mount Tambora and the Krakatoa (or Krakatau).

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