Earth’s Evolution: Lake Toba

Lake Toba measures 1,145 square km and a depth of 450 metres, making it the largest lake in Southeast Asia.  One of the deepest lakes in the world, and a natural wonder of the world.

Lake Toba is a natural formed lake in North Sumatra, Indonesia, which occupies the caldera (A caldera is a large cauldron like hollow that forms shortly after the emptying of a magma chamber in a volcanic eruption).

Lake Toba became the site of a super volcanic eruption around 74,000 years ago, representing a climate change.

It has been widely accepted that the volcanic eruption that took place at Lake Toba lasted for ten years, and was responsible, for plunging earth into a six-year Volcanic Winter. Our planet was plunged into darkness, as the sun’s rays were unable to penetrate rock, which was spewed out of the volcanic eruption into our atmosphere.  An estimated 670 miles of dense rock/ pyroclastic material was released during the eruption.  Our world was being tipped closer and closer into an-ice-age.

Lake Toba, lies near a fault line that runs along the centre of Sumatra, one of the weak points of earth’s crust.

It is believed the eruption of Lake Toba some 74,000 years ago, had global consequences for the human population, and was responsible for the killing of most humans living at that time.  It is highly unlikely very few plants or animals would have survived the eruption, and it is possible that the volcanic eruption caused a planet-wide die-off.

Since the major volcanic eruption, smaller eruptions have taken place at Toba.  The most recent being at Tandukbenua, with signs of no vegetation, which might be the cause of an eruption, within the last few hundred years.  Earthquakes have taken place, close to the volcano, notably in 1987 along the southern shores of the lake.  Earthquakes have also been recorded in 1892, 1916, and 1920-1922.

Studies of 2016 revealed that Lake Toba’s Super Volcano has a magma chamber, some 50,000 cubic kilometres of underground eruptible magma, ready to burst forth.

It is now a waiting game… how long will it last, before earth suffers a Super Volcanic Eruption?

Herculaneum Destroyed by Versuvius

A prosperous Roman town, Herculaneum was lost in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. Rediscovered in the 18th century, its excavation has been particularly challenging.

An Oscan town, founded around the site of a cult of Hercules, Herculaneum’s greatest prosperity came after it became a Roman municipum. Like Pompeii, it was lost in 79AD before it was rediscovered by treasure hunters in the 18th century. It’s excavation has been particularly challenging as it lies under the modern town that bears it name.

Brief History of Roman Herculaneum

Herculaneum was conquered by Sulla in 89BC. The town became a part of the Roman state, taking on the status of a municipum or provincial town. The conquest led to the most prosperous phase of town’s history. The Romans provided Herculaneum with paved streets, sewers, a theatre and basilica-all the trappings of a Roman town.

With its excellent fishing, noted vineyards and excellent sea views, the town became a tourist hot spot for wealthy Romans looking to escape Rome in the summer months. So important was the town that in 62AD when it sustained damage from an earthquake, its repairs were financed with subsides from the Roman government.

Roman City of Pompeii destroyed

On the 24th August in the year AD79, the Roman city of Pompeii in Italy became the victim to one of the world’s natural disaster.  The Volcano Vesuvius erupted, showering ash upon Herculaneum.  Pompeii was buried under five feet of ash, and some 20,000 people lost their lives that day.  Pompeii would be remembered…

The eruption of Vesuvius commenced on the morning of the 24th August AD79, catching its population utterly unprepared.  The tell tale signs were there to warn them; a column of smoke, triggering a response, one of curiosity.

A disaster of epic proportions, the obliteration of lives and property, sending shockwaves across the ancient world.  Penned eyewitness reports and poets, lamented the tragedy and its victims.  Pliny the Younger’s harrowing account described the eruption, one of confusion and terror.

By midnight on the 24th August, Pompeii was covered in a layer of ash, some five feet in depth.  The eruption had sent large amounts of ash into the sky.  The region suffered from earthquakes and storms lighting up the sky.

The fallout from the Vesuvius eruption covered an area of some 25 miles.  According to the writings of Pliny; as darkness fell upon the land, panic and chaos spread.

Volcanic cloud thinned out, as daylight burst forth, revealing a changed world, one buried in ash.