Bird Families

Volcanic Swiftlet / Aerodramus vulcanorum


Exotic Indonesia is full of surprises and attractions. Since this multi-island state is located in the Pacific Volcanic Ring of Fire, volcanoes can be found on most of the islands. It can be a dormant volcano such as Merbabu on Java, or acting like Sinabung on Sumatra and Agung volcano on Bali. In general, it should be noted that many volcanoes in Indonesia are active and quite dangerous.

Now let's talk about one of them. It is an active stratovolcano Tambora, located in the northern part of Sumbawa Island in the center of the Sanggar Peninsula (which appeared thanks to this volcano).

Volcano Tambora on the map

  • Geographic coordinates (-8.248925, 117.991723)
  • Distance from the capital of Indonesia Jakarta 1260 km in a straight line
  • Nearest Sultan Muhammad Salahuddin Airport 85 kilometers southeast

The height of the Tambor volcano is now 2722 meters above sea level. But it was not always so. Researchers suggest that the volcano formed at least 57,000 years ago at the junction of slowly moving parts of the earth's surface (the so-called active subduction zone). Its height until the beginning of the 19th century was 4300 meters above sea level. At that time, Tambora was a typical conical volcano with one crater. In its structure, it resembled the Fujiyama volcano in Japan.

The base of the volcano was about 60 km in diameter. Periodically, lava flows poured out of the crater and flowed down the slopes. Gradually solidifying, they formed the surface of the peninsula. But magmatic masses inside the volcano were constantly accumulating and waiting in the wings.

Now its caldera, with a diameter of more than 6.5 kilometers, is clearly visible from space. At the bottom of the crater, there is a lake measuring approximately 900 x 530 meters. It is formed by natural precipitation. Tambora Peak (2722 meters) is the highest point of Sumbawa Island.

Lake at the bottom of the crater of Tambora volcano Giant caldera of Tambora volcano

Beautiful surroundings, tropical jungles and exotic animals make the volcano area attractive. But this is not what the Tambora volcano is famous for. Have you noticed that from 4300 meters of height there is only a little more than 2700 left. Where did the rest of the meters go? Read on.

What made the Tambora volcano famous in 1815?

Any volcano sleeps and sees something to become famous for. Tambora is no exception.
And what can the volcano be famous for? An eruption, of course. And the more powerful it is, the more glory. In April 1815, the Tambora volcano gave a tremendous shake-up to the whole world. The magma accumulated for thousands of years inside the volcano broke free with a huge roar. The most powerful eruption shook the entire planet, literally and figuratively, causing colossal harm to humanity.

After the eruption, a giant caldera formed more than 6500 meters in diameter, and its depth reached 700 meters. The height of the volcano has almost halved, to 2,750 meters (plus or minus 50 meters).
The power of the eruption reached 7 points on the volcanic scale, and the energy that Tambora released was 4 times that of the Krakatoa volcano during its eruption in 1883.
According to volcanologists, the capacity of Tambora was 800,000 kilotons of TNT, which is about 40,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped by the Americans on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. Up to 180 km 3 of rocks, weighing about 140 million tons, were thrown out of the volcano.

The eruption of the Tambor volcano in comparison with other major eruptions

The history of the eruption of Tambora volcano

Since 1811, large areas of modern Indonesia have been occupied by Britain, so most of the information was obtained from representatives of the colonial administration.

For a long time, the Tambora volcano slept, waiting and gathering incredible power into a fist. In the depths of the volcano, magma was accumulating, and the pressure increased to 5000 bar. This is about 4930 atmospheres. For example, a car mini-wash creates a pressure of about 20-150 bar. Imagine what kind of power lurked in Tambor. Together with the pressure, the temperature also grew, reaching values ​​of 850 o C. And this is 200 degrees higher than the melting point of aluminum.

The most powerful eruption of the Tambor volcano

The volcano showed the first signs of awakening in 1812. Then a rumble was heard in the depths, and a dark cloud formed over the crater.

On April 5, 1815, the first impressive explosion was heard, which was heard even at a distance of 1000 kilometers. The next day, a full-scale eruption began. The ash flew to the east coast of Java, 400 kilometers from the epicenter.

The eruption intensified. On April 10, the explosions were heard already 2,600 kilometers away. The pillars of flame from the mouth of the volcano joined together, and the entire volcano was a continuous stream of liquid fire. All this was accompanied by strong pyroclastic flows.

Streams of gases spreading within a radius of 20 kilometers from the crater destroyed entire villages in a few minutes and killed thousands of people in the area. Large chunks of volcanic pumice and tons of ash fell from the sky. Explosions continued until July 15, and smoke emissions were observed until August 23. The ash reached South Sulawesi and West Java. The ash wave propagation diagram can be seen in the photo below.

Ash wave propagation scheme from Tambor

Volcanic ash rose to a height of 43 kilometers, mixing with rains, turning into a poisonous slurry and falling out for another whole week. In addition, from several months to several years, at an altitude of 10-30 kilometers, there was a huge amount of the smallest ash particles. Of course, such a colossal eruption was not without casualties.

Scientists are still arguing how many people died in the eruption of the Tambora volcano, but they agree that the count goes to tens of thousands. Moreover, most of the population died not from the eruption itself, but from its consequences.

The number of victims directly during the eruption is estimated at 10-12 thousand people. After the disaster, another 60-70 thousand people died. The explosions of the Tambor volcano were accompanied by the appearance of a tsunami with a wave height of several meters. The tsunami alone killed more than 4,600 people on the neighboring islands.

There is evidence that the number of victims is approaching 100,000, but this is a slightly exaggerated figure. Most scientists believe that the eruption claimed the lives of about 71,000 people.

During the eruption, all vegetation on the island was destroyed. The torn up trees mixed with ash and pumice, forming a sticky layer like a raft up to 5 kilometers in size. One such layer was found in the Indian Ocean near Calcutta in early October 1815.

Aftermath of the eruption

As the pirate John Silver said in the cartoon "Treasure Island" - "And the living will envy the dead." This phrase turned out to be applicable to a volcano and its eruption. Most of the first people died almost instantly. And the subsequent ones had to suffer, because after the cataclysm the ash destroyed all agriculture in the vicinity and killed a huge number of animals (both domestic and wild). Hunger and disease began to mow down the population. The following year, 1816, was remembered in world history as a “year without summer”. Due to the rampage of the Tambora volcano, global climate anomalies have occurred. After the eruption, darkness remained within a radius of 500 kilometers for several days. The sky was covered with volcanic ash. Humanity has learned what a "volcanic winter" is.

The average temperature on the planet at this time dropped by 1 o C, and in some places by 4-5 o C. This led to difficulties in agriculture. Grain yields have dropped significantly. In 1817, grain prices increased 10 times, and the population in the vicinity of the volcano suffered and died from hunger and outbreak of disease. The restoration of agriculture in the area began only in 1907. And in the 1930s, coffee plantations appeared.

The eruption wiped out the entire culture of the aborigines of the island of Sumbawa, and together with the inhabitants, one of the Papuan languages, Tambor, died out.

The excavations of 2004 prove this. Then archaeologists, under a three-meter layer of caked ash and pyroclastic sediments, discovered the remains of this culture and the remains of people preserved in those positions in which they were caught by death. This place was even called Eastern Pompeii (by analogy with the city of Pompeii, which was destroyed in a short time in 79 by the volcano Vesuvius).

The eruption of the Tambor volcano killed tens of thousands of people

Volcano Tambora is active to this day, periodically emitting smoke and small lava flows. Minor eruptions occurred in 1880 and 1967. Increases in seismic activity were recorded in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Despite its deadly history, Tambor attracts more than just volcanologists, biologists and archaeologists. Tourists also come to see the volcano. Usually they try to get to the very top, to the huge caldera.

How to get to the top of the volcano

There are two main routes to the top. The first one starts from the village of Doro Mboha on the south side and leads to the southern part of the crater. It is noteworthy that this path follows a good road at an altitude of 1950 meters above sea level. Directly to the edge of the caldera you will have to walk for about an hour. The second path is from the village of Pancasila (on the northwest side of the volcano). This route can only be traversed on foot.

2 people on the edge of the Tambora volcano caldera. Feel the scale

Interesting Facts

  1. A group of scientists led by the Swiss botanist Heinrich Zollinger arrived on the island of Sumbawa in 1847 and climbed to the eastern edge of the Tambor caldera with the help of local guides. Zollinger's task was to study the eruption and its impact on the local ecosystem. Thus, he became the first person to climb the summit since the eruption. Even after 32 years, smoke was still visible over the volcano.
  2. Due to its inaccessibility, the ecosystem of the caldera is practically untouched by humans.
  3. After the eruption, about 20 additional (so-called parasitic) cones were formed. That is, in addition to a giant crater, in the vicinity you can find another two dozen craters of much smaller sizes.
  4. According to radiocarbon analysis, Tambora Volcano has erupted more than once in the past. Estimated dates have been set for at least three of its significant eruptions before 1815. This is the period from 4110 to 3700 BC, around 3050 BC. and between 590 and 890 AD
  5. The caldera of the volcano and the adjacent territories with an area of ​​about 60 km 2 are a dangerous exclusion zone. It is forbidden to live in it
Tambora volcano crater

Want to know everything

Have you flown over a volcano? Let's then find out what this word is - "Caldera"!

Volcanologists call Uzon "caldera". This term (from the Spanish caldero - "cauldron") indicates a special, "failed" origin of the giant crater-basin. About three hundred thousand years ago, on the site of Uzon, a conical stratovolcano rose, reaching a height of three kilometers. After a series of grandiose eruptions, which ended forty thousand years ago, the volcano collapsed, the earth beneath it subsided - a caldera was formed.

The natives of Kamchatka, the Itelmens, who made their way to Uzon for multi-colored clay for paints, sacredly kept the secret about this amazing place. They brought the first civilized man here in September 1854. It was Karl von Dietmar, a special mission officer for the mining sector. Since then, people have not left the Uzon volcano sleeping for eight thousand years with their attention.

What is a caldera in general? This is a huge depression, and it is formed in two ways. The main thing is the failure of the overhanging roof due to the devastation of the magma chamber under the volcano. During a volcanic eruption, large volumes of volcanic products enter the earth's surface. This can go on for a long time. As a result of the eruption, the chamber under the volcano is depleted and a cavity is created. Huge volumes of rocks over this space seem to sag and ultimately sink, which contributes to the formation of a depression, or caldera. Since subsidence, or failure, occurs in the center of the volcanic edifice, an edge or shaft appears around the depression, often with sheer walls.

The western edge of the caldera - Baraniy Peak - preserves a one and a half kilometer "fragment" of a pristine volcano. The steep walls, accessible only to bighorn sheep, rise upward like a springboard. Snow-filled hollows fall down like white lightning. The horizons of brick-red slag remind of the oldest eruptions.

Eight and a half thousand years ago Uzon experienced the last "shock". The colossal explosion left behind a crater about a kilometer in diameter. And since then Uzon has never erupted. According to modern concepts, if the period before the last eruption exceeded 3,500 years, the volcano can be considered inactive. But not extinct in any way. Uzon, of course, is old, but his old age is colored in an unusual way. Over the past millennia, fumaroles and solfatars - outlets of hot volcanic gases - have changed the surface of the earth, saturating it with a host of thermal springs. But wildlife did not retreat, forming a unique symbiosis with volcanism. Located on the territory of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Uzon has been taken under special protection - since 1996 it has been included by UNESCO in the World Natural Heritage List in the nomination “Volcanoes of Kamchatka”.

The outer slopes of the caldera are indented by gullies. Thickets of cedar and dwarf alder are easily overcome only for bears. Wind, fog and oblique freezing rain are constant companions in the Kamchatka mountains. But all this will be left behind as soon as the descent into the caldera begins. The cold fog reigning above turns here into low cloudiness, from which the most ordinary gentle rain pours - everything changes, as if you are crossing the invisible border of another world. This is indeed the case: Uzon exists according to its own laws.

He lives his own life, and he has no idea what confusion "learned heads" come to near his hot springs, in which nature, like an obsessed alchemist, has mixed almost all the known chemical elements, but, moreover, put some more unimaginable bacteria and algae, for which boiling water and toxic substances are the most favorable habitat.

The height of the walls of the caldera is on average 400 meters, its diameter is about 10 kilometers. Inside - like "archived" Kamchatka: sulfur crater springs and a clear lake from which a fish river flows, groves of stone birch and dwarf cedar bushes, vast berry tundra and classic Kamchatka tall grass, and - the whole set of Kamchatka animals: bear, reindeer, fox - rage, whooper swan, Steller's sea eagle.

The bear trail leading to Uzon from the north descends to the Dalnee Lake. This is the so-called maar - an explosive funnel filled with cold and transparent water. The maar of Lake Dalnee is about a kilometer in diameter, its inner walls are completely overgrown with dwarf cedar, and are so steep that the bear path leading upward looks like a fire escape. In winter, the lake is ice-bound, the crater itself is almost filled up with snow - the last ice floes sometimes disappear only by the beginning of August. The ring of steep walls leaves almost no room for the shore, only a narrow strip of slag, ash and volcanic bombs surrounds the water with a black ribbon.

In the center of the caldera, heated by an underground, not yet cooled magma chamber, there is the main thermal zone - there are more than a thousand hot springs (they could feed a small geothermal power plant). The springs feed numerous lakes, the largest of which is Chloride with a diameter of only 150 meters. Its water is whitish-gray and has a sodium chloride composition. Large gas bubbles with a high content of methane and hydrogen are continuously emitted from several deep and high-temperature funnels.The bottom of the lake is abundantly populated with diatoms, which, under the influence of the sun (the average depth of the reservoir is not more than 1.5 meters), actively participate in photosynthesis, releasing oxygen. In turn, oxygen oxidizes the hydrogen sulfide coming from the depths to elemental sulfur, which falls out in shallow water in the form of small yellowish grains and forms sulfur beaches on the shores of the lake. This sulfur serves as food for thionic bacteria that produce sulfuric acid. As a result, a stream of natural sulfuric acid flows out of the lake, albeit diluted.

The water of Chloridnoye, of course, is not suitable for swimming, they swim in another lake - Bannom - an explosive funnel filled with sulphurous water heated to 40 ° C. Swimming in Banny has always been a kind of ritual for everyone who worked in Uzon or got there as a tourist. In the evening, when it was getting dark, rows of people with towels stretched to the lake. They walked cautiously along bear paths, illuminating the path with a flashlight, skirting around mud pots and fumaroles. They descended along echoing hillocks to a sulfur creek. You could already hear the bubbles gurgling at the source. And here is Bannoe: the beam of the lantern stopped on the silently swirling wall of steam ... In the spring of 1987, the water temperature in the lake suddenly rose to 47 ° C. The lovers of the Uzon baths were disappointed. And by autumn, the temperature returned to its previous limits.

In 1989, a so-called phreatic explosion occurred on the reservoir with the release of the material contained in the funnel. He was observed only by the gamekeepers of the reserve. In 1991, volcanologists discovered a dense horizon of molten sulfur at a depth of 25 meters. Having broken through this crust, the load with the thermometer reached the real bottom at a depth of 32 meters. Impressive facts! And yet it is worth plunging into a dirty slurry for about five minutes to relieve fatigue and feel, along with the slight smell of sulfur, a fleeting closeness to the "underworld".

Mud pots and mud volcanoes are small wonders of Uzon. They are found where ash-pumice tuffs, under the influence of sulfur vapor and hot water, have turned into kaolinite clays. Ditmar described them for the first time, and Vladimir Komarov, a famous geographer, later president of the USSR Academy of Sciences, left the first photographs. Now it seems that these unusually clear, as it was said then, "phototypes" were taken almost yesterday. The same hot springs, cauldrons, volcanoes - the same and not the same: it is difficult to explain what the difference is - in the location of the springs or in their shape. The fact is that Uzon is changing all the time: some sources die, others are born, making their way through the tundra or right on the bear path. The clay crusts that cover many thermal sites sometimes hum underfoot - there are voids under them, and if you listen, you can discern the squelching of gurgling clay - this means that a mud cauldron is hidden right below, ready to wrap you in a warm embrace. To indulge in boiling clay is much more terrible than just scalding: clay is not boiling water, it cools slowly, and you cannot wash it off right away. One can only envy and admire the bears, watching how dashingly they cross the thermal grounds.

The lazy gurgle of thick clay mingles with the fierce hiss of "singing" or "damn pans" - thermal areas where boiling water splashes, spits and gurgles from under shaky crusts.

Mud volcanoes act almost like real ones: they both smoke and "erupt" with their hot clay, only the activation of their "volcanic activity" occurs after the rain, when the clay liquefies, and in dry hot weather the volcanoes "fall asleep".

Where low-mineralized solutions come to the surface, fine-crystalline sulfur is deposited around the steam-gas jets, covering the ground with a pale green bloom. In zones of strong mineralization (up to 5 g / l), with the participation of hydrogen sulfide, the mineralization process takes place. Right before the eyes of the researcher, various sulfides are formed: arsenic - golden yellow orpiment and orange-red realgar, antimony - antimonite, mercury - red cinnabar, iron - brass-yellow pyrite. The palette of the Uzon land is bizarre - this is what the names of the minerals indicate.

Every year the Uzon caldera attracts more and more attention of scientists from all over the world. Microbiologists, who discovered a unique biogeocenosis in the hot springs of Uzon, are of particular interest. First of all, this is the world of archaea - the most ancient microorganisms that do not belong to algae or bacteria. Archaea have chosen the most extreme environment for their life. On Uzon, they live in springs with a temperature of 96 ° C (the boiling point of water at the caldera bottom is 96.5 ° C), they use sulfur, not oxygen, for breathing, and replenish their energy reserves with hydrogen sulfide.

Slightly smaller "extremals" should be recognized as thionic bacteria, discovered back in 1933. On Uzon, they prefer springs heated from 80 to 90 ° C, and there they form picturesque cosmic white colonies. These bacteria differ in type and specialization: some, for example, oxidize sulfur sulfides to elemental sulfur, while others convert it into sulfuric acid. The streams inhabited by thionic bacteria are, as a rule, white and next to the red-buffy clay mounds embody the paradoxical association with “milk rivers and jelly banks”.

The lower temperature range (less than 65 ° C) is inhabited by well-known but poorly studied thermophilic relatives of common blue-green algae. These are already aerobic organisms that release oxygen and, as it turned out, prevent access to the atmosphere from thermal sources of gases such as methane and carbon dioxide.

Bears come to Uzon in April-May, when there is still snow everywhere outside the caldera. With the spring lack of food, green grass is an unconditional delicacy for them. Animals with obvious pleasure walk on the warm Uzon clay. They say that bears heal and strengthen their feet, which have weakened after a long hibernation. The she-bears take out very tiny cubs from their dens. They feel safe on Uzon.

Amorous couples who do not tolerate any neighborhood can retire in the thickets of dwarf cedar. Young people frolic on the snowfields. And in summer and autumn, when blueberries and pine nuts, the main "vegetarian" food of Kamchatka bears, ripen, the clubfoot population of Uzon noticeably grows in number. Bears graze on the blueberry tundra sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, becoming an integral part of the Uzon landscapes. People try not to disturb them, and the bears respond with condescending indifference, as befits the true masters of Uzon, who, fortunately, do not know that the ring of civilization has already closed ...

Caldera Uzon is under the tireless supervision of volcanologists. What caused this? Of course, the volcano deserves so much attention not for its shape. The bottom line is that hydrothermal activity is unusually vividly manifested here, the decoding of which gives a lot of scientific information. Caldera Uzon - a kind of natural laboratory. Many ore minerals (arsenic, mercury, copper, zinc, etc.) have been identified in the groundwater flowing to the surface. As the aqueous solutions cool, these minerals fall out and are deposited around the springs. To some extent, it is possible to trace how the ores are formed. The hydrothermal springs themselves are also of considerable interest. Under the influence of the latter, rocks also change. It is very important to study this process, and this is one of the tasks of volcanologists.

Ⓘ Aerodramus vulcanorum

Dark gray swift with a blurred gray-brown stripe on the upper tail and a well-visible forked tail. The head is darker than the main plumage, the wings and tail are blackish with a purple sheen. The plumage in the lower part, especially on the throat, is dark. The hips of birds are white, while in males they are almost naked, and in females - with feathers. The contour feathers of juveniles are whiter, and the stripe on the upper tail is almost undefined. The body length is 13-14 cm.

It differs from the Himalayan swiftlet in a less noticeable stripe on the upper tail, darker plumage in the lower part, less vegetation on the thighs and a shallow cut on the tail.

Aerodramus vulcanorum calls differ from the sound signals of the Himalayan swiftlet. These include "teeree-teeree-teeree" piercing, single and double clicks for echolocation.

1. Distribution

Aerodramus vulcanorum lives in the mountains in the western part of Java. The area of ​​the range is 19 800 km² and includes only the territory of Indonesia. The birds live at an altitude of 1000 to 3000 meters. It is precisely known about four colonies in the western part of the island: near the volcanoes Gede, Pangrango, Tangkuban and Papandayan. According to the most conservative estimate, each colony contains 25 pairs, and the total number of birds is about 400 individuals. Five more colonies, and the western, central and eastern parts of the island, most likely also belong to this species. They are sedentary.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies Aerodramus vulcanorum as a species close to a vulnerable position, from 1994 to 2000 it was classified as a vulnerable species. Bird populations may be affected by loss of natural habitat, volcanic activity in the region, and tourism in the Gede and Tangkuban volcanoes.

2. Reproduction

Unlike other swiftlets, whose nests are located in limestone caves, representatives of this taxon nest in crevices in rocks of volcanic origin at an altitude of 2200-3000 meters above sea level. All known nesting colonies are located near active volcanoes, that is, they can disappear at any time.

The female can lay eggs for an average of five years.

3. Taxonomy

This species was described by the German zoologist Erwin Stresemann in 1926 on the basis of a specimen obtained in the west of the island of Java as a subspecies of the Himalayan swiftlet Aerodramus brevirostris. The study of the features of echolocation of these taxa confirmed the separation of species.

For a long time, this taxon belonged to the genus Collocalia swiftlets. In 1970, South African ornithologist Brooke, Richard Kendall divided the genus into three groups, one of which is Aerodramus from the Greek. αερος - "air", Greek. δρομος - "racer" - included non-shiny swifts capable of echolocation. However, the name Collocalia vulcanorum also continues to be used.

Currently, Aerodramus vulcanorum belongs to the genus Aerodramus of the Swift family.

Article source:

Genus Salangana Aerodramus.

The larger swiftlets Aerodramus weigh approximately 14 grams and the Aerodramus vulcanorum The whitehead swallow, Aerodramus whiteheadi. The Word of SALANGANA What is SALANGANA? Word meanings. Aerodramus terraereginae Himalayan salangana. Aerodramus brevirostris Volcanic salangana. Aerodramus vulcanorum Salangana. Salangana ru. Highest classification: Apodiformes: Swift. The Himalayan swiftlet Aerodramus brevirostris is small overnight. form A. b. vulcanorum as the volcanic swiftlet, Aerodramus vulcanorum.

Himalayan salangan ru.

The name Collocalia brevirostris also continues to be used. Aerodramus vulcanorum was part of this taxon as a subspecies, later it was. Salangana is volcanic. The volcanic swiftlet Aerodramus vulcanorum is found in forests, open mountain plains, or rocky plains. Himalayan swiftlet Birds. Volcano Swiftlet Aerodramus vulcanorum endemic to several sites in western Java in Indonesia. Find this Pin and more on Aves: Non passerines by. Aerodramus watch online videos in excellent quality and without. Edible nest Swiftlet aerodramus Fuciphagus Nests At Gomantong. These nests were found in the bat caves at Gomantong. This is one of the echo locating. Himalayan swiftlet Map of knowledge. Himalayan salangan Aerodramus brevirostris. 1276. Volcanic swiftlet Aerodramus vulcanorum. 1277. Salangan Whitehead Aerodramus.

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