Indonesia’s Lake Toba Supervolcano Threatens Global Volcanic Winter: Eruption Caused Mass Extinction 75, 000 Years Ago

JohnThomas Didymus - Author

Jun. 10 2015, Updated 3:38 p.m. ET

Indonesia’s Toba supervolcano – the site of the world’s largest volcanic lake in Sumatra –came alive late last month, producing hot steam and foul smelling gas. The recent activity has raised fears of a major eruption after 75,000 years.

Toba Volcano, according to reports in the Indonesian media, is presently producing large emissions of steam and the ground in the area around the volcano is giving off foul odors of gas. Locals have also reported feeling the ground hot under their feet.

The latest activity is reportedly spreading panic among residents of the Toba area.

According to Dutchsinse, Toba supervolcano has a larger eruptive power than the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming, United States.

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Researchers say that Toba was responsible for two major global environment altering events in the last 2 million years, erupting on four different occasions in the Quaternary Period: 840,000 years ago, 700,000 years ago and finally about 75,000 years ago.

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The last eruption that occurred 75,000 years ago was the largest of the four eruptions and has been characterized by the extent of its ashfall in the so-called Young Toba Tuff (YTT). The eruption led to formation of the Toba caldera — Earth’s largest Quaternary caldera — in its present form.

The caldera, as it is known today, began forming about 1 million years ago during the Pleistocene epoch, when the first eruptions occurred.

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“Toba caldera [the crater] produced the largest eruption in the last 2 million years. The caldera is 18 x 60 miles (30 by 100 km) and has a total relief of 5,100 feet (1700 m).”

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