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The Incredible Lake Toba and Samosir Island

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The Incredible Lake Toba and Samosir Island

Posted on 25 January 2012

Between 69,000 and 77,000 years ago, one of the most spectacular geological events in earth’s history occurred on the island of Sumatra: the mega eruption of Mount Toba Supervolcano. The eruption was the latest in a series of at least three caldera-forming eruptions that occurred at the volcano, with earlier calderas having formed around 700,000 and 840,000 years ago. The last eruption was estimated to have Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 8, - described as mega-colossal- and is still believed to be the largest explosive eruption anywhere on earth in the past 25 million years. To give an idea of its magnitude, consider that although the eruption took place in Indonesia, it deposited ash layers of approximately 15-cm (5.9-inch) thick over the entire South Asia.  At one site in central India, the Toba ash layer can still be found today to a 6 m (20 ft) thickness.

Out of that great catastrophic event, a colossal caldera was formed which was gradually filled with water and created what we know today as Lake Toba.  While at the center of the lake, the rising caldera floor also formed the enchanting Samosir Island, caused by movements in the magma chamber beneath it.

Today, Lake Toba is the perfect place to sit back, relax and absorb the beauty that lies in its pristine sceneries. As one sits and takes in the view of the picturesque mountains set against the cool clear lake, all the burdens of daily life will melt away. Samosir Island, at the center of the Lake, offers more mystifying wonders. Mountains steeped in cool mist, clear waterfalls to swim under and locals taking their water buffalo out in the fields, are just to name a few. Here, one can also discover the legendary hospitality of the Batak people. Wherever you go, it won’t take you long to make a new friend.

Photo by Jimmi Carter Gultom.