Two European scientists named Stephan Kempe and Josef Kazmierczak were researching Satonda Lake in 1984, 1989 and 1996. The result of their studies showed that Satonda Lake is a rare phenomenon because of the salty water with alkaline levels much higher than regular sea water. It was their combined opinion that Satonda basin coincided with the formation of craters which aged back more than 10,000 years. (Microbialites and Hydrochemistry of the Crater Lake of Satonda ", 1996)
Satonda island was formed by volcanic eruption on the sea floor at a depth of 1000 meters, and thrust upwards some millions of years ago. This charming island is located in the Flores Sea and is administratively part of the Nangamiro Village area, in the district of Dompu, in the province of West Nusa Tenggara.
The volcanic island of Satonda looks especially stunning when viewed from the top of Mount Tambora, which is located approximately 30 kilometers from Pulau Satonda. Many say it feels incomplete to climb Mount Tambora without paying a visit to Pulau Satonda as well. Reportedly Satonda is more popular among foreign tourists who make it a sort of stopping point when visiting the Komodo National Park from Bali or Lombok. They usually come to see and experience first-had the stunning white sand, and crystal clear waters for snorkeling.
In addition to the diverse tourist crowd, beginning with the exotic, natural volcanic mountains and beautiful salt water lake in the crater, Satonda also stores a wealth of coral reefs in the surrounding waters. Due to the wealth it has of natural sea coral reefs, Satonda was designated a Marine Nature Park (TWAL) in 1999 by the Ministry of Forestry.
There are several types of coral in the waters around the island Satonda, namely Acroporidae, Xenia sp, Favidae, Sarcophyton sp, sp Labophyton, Hetractris crispa, Nephtea sp, sp Capnella, Lemnalia sp and sp Astrospicularis. In the living corals surrounding this island are also many species of ornamental, exotic fish and other sea creatures. Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imricata) is also often seen swimming and foraging among the Satonda coral reefs. As for the types of marine flora found here, several in abundance are, ketapang (Terminalia catappa), sea pandanus (Pandanus tectorius), fig (Ficus sp), sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus), nyamplung (Calophyllum inophyllum), Mentigi (Pempis sp) and tamarind (Tamarindus indica).
In addition to being a tourist destination, the island volcano area of 2,600 hectares, managed by the West Nusa Tenggara Natural Resources Conservation Center, is also frequented by scientists and researchers from both within and outside the country. One reason for this is because of the presence of the island that can not be separated from the phenomenal eruption of Mount Tambora which shook the world on 15 April 1815. The eruption of Mount Tambora rocked several parts of the world, spewing dust and polluting the Earth's atmosphere for many years, even tearing the thin ozone layer. Its effects also resulted in climate change which led to eight weeks of nonstop rain in the UK which triggered a typhus epidemic that killed 65,000 people. The eruption of Mount Tambora also resulted in darkness which brought on crop failure in China, Europe, and Ireland and led to food shortages in these countries.
In connection with the effects of the eruption of Mount Tambora, the presence of a salt water lake in the Satonda crater is one of the unique and interesting effects to be studied. The Satonda crater resembles a figure eight with a diameter of 950 meters from the south and 400 meters from the east. This ancient lake was formed from the Satonda eruption thousands of years ago. The Satonda volcano which is supposedly older than Mount Tambora, grew along with several parasitic volcanoes scattered around Tambora. The lake that was formed in the crater was once filled with fresh water. It is said that the eruption of Mount Tambora resulted in a tsunami which filled the crater and turned it into the salt water lake that it is today