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.