National Geographic : 2008 Jan
ARCHAEOLOGY Omi 600 > 0km600 NGMMAPS INDONESIA INDIAN Tambora OCEAN Sumbawa / t For more on Tambora go to ngm.com. NG GRANTEE Ash Cache Atown buried by the largest eruption in recorded history is starting to see the light. The tale begins in 1815, on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa. Mount Tambora blew up, ejecting 20 times the rock that flew from Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Superhot ash and rock burned or buried all in its path, including the tiny kingdom of Tambora. Death toll: 92,000. Wind-blown clouds from the 27-mile-high plume dimmed the sun's rays. Crops failed worldwide. Sumbawa was largely uninhabited for decades. The town of Tambora had been forgotten until locals in the 1970s found artifacts in an area cleared by loggers. Working with ground-penetrating radar, volcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson, of the University of Rhode Island, has uncovered three stilt houses under ten feet of ash, several bodies, and objects that suggest surprising prosperity, including a miraculous ly intact ceramic pot (left). He will continue excavating: "This could be the Pompeii of the East." - Tom O'Neill INFRAREDCOLORSPOTSATELLITEIMAGEBY CNESAND CRISP, NATIONALUNIVERSITYOFSINGAPORE.PHOTO:FLORIANBREIER Town of Tambora 'IA The town of Tambora is now emerging 15 miles west of a 9,350 foot-high caldera.