Mount Tambora: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Mount Tambora.

  • Mount Tambora is an active volcano located on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia. Indonesia has over 150 active volcanoes making it one of the most active areas in the world.
  • The volcano is currently about 2,850 metres high. However, during the 17th and 18th centuries, movements in the earth temporarily increased its height to over 4,000 metres.

Mount Tambora

  • The April 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora was one of the most powerful ever. An estimated 140 billion tonnes of ash, rock and debris were erupted, some landing over 1,000 km away.

  • The 1815 eruption was heard over 2,000 km away on the island of Sumatra. Many nearby explorers and traders thought cannons were being fired, and feared a war.
  • A tsunami with waves up to 4 metres high was triggered, and the sky was dark for two days. At least 71,000 people in the area were killed by the huge eruption.
  • The eruption was so powerful that it caused climate changes around the world. Crops failed in Europe and America and the following summer was known as the year without a summer.
  • A village of about 10,000 people was completely buried in the 1815 eruption. This lost settlement was known for making honey, breeding horses and producing medicines and incense.
  • Mount Tambora also erupted at least three times before 1815, in 3900 BC, 3050 BC and 740 AD. A small eruption occurred in 1967 and the volcano is still active today.
  • Tourists can climb the volcano on the Mount Tambora Trail. Only a few hundred people a year reach the top, by walking through thick jungle and along narrow paths.
  • Over 100 species of birds can be seen on and around Mount Tambora. There is also a wildlife reserve covering over 18,000 hectares.

What next? Learn more about volcanoes by visiting our volcano resources page.

10 Volcano Facts

Here are some key facts about volcanoes.

  • Volcanoes are vents or cracks in the Earth’s surface through which hot gases, molten rock and debris are emitted. There are about 1,900 volcanoes in the world.

  • Volcanoes can be either active, dormant or extinct. An active volcano has erupted during the last 1,000 years and is likely to erupt again, a dormant volcano has not erupted recently and an extinct one is unlikely to erupt again.
  • There are about 100 active volcanoes in the US, and the one most likely to erupt is Mount Rainier. However, the country with the most active volcanoes is Indonesia with about 160.
  • Most volcanoes form over thousands of years, although they can also appear very quickly. In 1943, a volcano named Paricutin appeared in a Mexican field and was about 60 feet tall in a week, growing to a height of 1,000 feet in a year.
  • There may be as many as 10,000 volcanoes on the ocean floor. One of the most famous is Surtsey, off the coast of Iceland, which erupted and formed a new island in 1963; the island is now home to thousands of seals and seagulls.
  • Around the world, about 5 million people live close to active volcanoes. One of the most famous is Mount Vesuvius in Italy, and several million people live dangerously close to it.
  • One of the most devastating volcanic eruptions was the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, which killed about 36,000 people. The eruption made one of the loudest sounds ever heard and had the strength of 15,000 nuclear bombs.


  • Hawaii and Iceland are both volcanic islands, and because of this they have black beaches. The sand is actually made from the lava cooling down, creating a rock called basalt.
  • In Iceland and other volcanic areas, the heat from volcanoes is used to run power plants and produce hot water. In Japan, many people bathe in warm volcanic sand to cure various illnesses and skin conditions.
  • The farmland around volcanoes is some of the most fertile in the world, because of the nutrients present in the volcanic ash. One species of bird, the maleo, incubates its eggs by using the heat from volcanic sand.

What next? Vistit the Primary Facts resouces page on Volcanoes.