Jun 03, 2015 I Paul Seaburn

Indonesian Supervolcano Showing Signs of Possible Eruption

Residents of the village of Sitoluama in the North Sumatra district of Indonesia are in a state of panic as the ground beneath their homes is becoming hot and emitting steam that smells like sulfur and gas. When you live near Lake Toba, that’s a cause for alarm since the lake fills the caldera of the Toba supervolcano which erupted around 70,000 years ago, causing the largest known eruption on Earth in the last 2.5 million years. Is Toba getting ready to blow and change the global climate again?

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Inspectors checking for unusual heat and sulfurous steam

The heat and gaseous steam started on May 27, 2015, according to resident Purasa Silalahi, who felt the ceramic tiles on his floor getting hot .

Steam and smelling like gas coming out of the pores of the soil was feared to threaten the safety of people around, so we report them to the government.

Some experts believe the last Toba eruption caused a “volcanic winter” which lowered the average global temperature by 3-5 degrees C and triggered the last glacial period. It may have caused a tremendous drop in human population at the time to barely a few thousand people. The supervolcano disgorged 700 cubic miles (2,800 cubic kilometers) of magma. To put this in perspective, the Krakatoa eruption in 1883, one of the largest on record, released only 3 cubic miles of magma. Tobaalso sent a huge amount of volcanic ash over the Indian Ocean, Indian Peninsula and South China Sea, traveling as much as 4,350 miles (7,000 km).

Should we be getting ready for another volcanic winter? No one knows, or is admitting to know. The environmental agency of Toba Samosir is investigating, as is the Department of Mines and Energy of North Sumatra, but there has never been gas seepage in the area and there are no known gas or oil deposits to cause the leak.

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Volcanoes on Sumatra

Indonesia is dense with volcanoes, many of them active. Volcanic and earthquake activity appears to be on the rise worldwide. Some have linked this activity to the pole shift. Fracking isn’t helping. Neither is climate change. Toba is the biggest, meanest and scariest volcano of the bunch and it may be awakening.

Should we be worried?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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