Featured volcano : Batu Tara, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia

Last update: July 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm by By

The small isolated island of Batu Tara in the Flores Sea about 50 km north of Lembata (fomerly Lomblen) Island contains a scarp on the eastern side similar to the Sciara del Fuoco of Italy’s Stromboli volcano. Vegetation covers the flanks of Batu Tara to within 50 m of the 748-m-high summit.
Batu Tara lies north of the main volcanic arc and is noted for its potassic leucite-bearing basanitic and tephritic rocks. The first historical eruption from Batu Tara, during 1847-52, produced explosions and a lava flow.
Batu Tara volcano island (Kombo Island) is unpopulated.

Joe Bauwens, a science blogger wrote  : Batu Tara is located to the north of the Flores Thrust, where the Timor Microplate is being subducted beneath the Banda Sea Plate (part of the collisional area between the Australian and Eurasian Plates). As this happens the Timor Plate is forced down into the Earth’s interior, where it is partially melted by the heat. Melted material then rises through the overlying Banda Sea Plate, fueling the volcanoes located upon it.

Eruptions
Except for the above mentioned eruption of 1847-1852, eruptions on the island are very badly registered, mainly because of is remote location.
Nowadays, satellite images and occasional aviation reports are filling in the gap.
Recent eruptions have been recorded, except for the current 2012 one, in 2006, 2007 and 2008.  According to John Seach, 15000 people were evacuated from nearby Lembata island.
Eruptions are frequently accompanied by the ejection of incandescent ash and lava bombs, as well as flows of lava, but since the island is remote and uninhabited these are seldom recorded.
The ash clouds during the April – July 2012 eruptions have the same pattern than the 2006 – 2008 eruptions.
Eruptions at Batu Tara are followed very carefully by VAAC Darwin, who follows up ash concentration in the air for airline traffic. Batu Tara is located on the direct flying route from Jakarta to Sydney.

Eruption in 2009 Satellite view Image kchabba
Eruption Dec. 2008
Image kchabba
Eruption Dec. 2008

Earthquakes
The list below shows the earthquake activity in a narrow radius around the volcano. Unfortunately we are only able to report the stronger earthquakes reported by the most important seismological agencies in the world. Our earthquakes database began registering early 2012.

SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
ER Seismicity Startup Record Dec 31 00:00 0.1 0 MAP I Felt It


Webcams
Unfortunately, NO webcams are present on this remote island in Indonesia

Videos

The first video below (from Marc Szeglat) shows in great detail the Strombolian eruptions which are taking place at the island.
The second video (from avdezwart)shows another blast (in 2011 ?) from a person (passenger of crew) on board of a container ship passing by the islands.

Some text and images courtesy : Smithsonian Institution, Wikipedia and Joe Bauwens.
Image 1 : courtesy Mike Mate

To follow eventual activity at this time, please check also our Daily Volcano Activity reports.


SHARE YOUR EARTHQUAKE EXPERIENCE WITH US

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MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
People :
Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
Fittings :
Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
Structures :
Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
People :
Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
Fittings :
Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
Structures :
Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
Fittings :
Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
Structures :
Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
Environment :
Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
People
General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
Fittings :
Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
Structures :
Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
Environment :
Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
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