Magma volume, volatile emissions, and stratospheric aerosols from the 1815 eruption of Tambora

S. Self, R. Gertisser, T. Thordarson, M. R. Rampino, J. A. Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We suggest that the Tambora 1815 emption was smaller than previously thought, yielding 30-33 km3 of magma. Valuable insight into the eruption is gained by comparing it to the much smaller 1991 Pinatubo event, which had a similar eruption style and rate. By measuring pre- and post-eruption sulfur concentrations in 1815 ejecta, we estimate that Tambora released 53-58 Tg (5.3-5.8 × 1013 g) of SO 2 within a period of about 24 hours on 10-11 April, 1815. This was sufficient to generate between 93 and 118 Tg of stratospheric sulfate aerosols. A value within this range, distributed globally, agrees well with estimates of aerosol mass from ice-core acidity and the radiative impact of the eruption. In contrast to other recent explosive arc eruptions, the Tambora ejecta retain a record of the sulfur mass released, with no "excess sulfur".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L20608 1-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 28 2004


  • 8404 Volcanology: Ash deposits
  • 8409 Volcanology: Atmospheric effects (0370)
  • 8414 Volcanology: Emption mechanisms
  • 8439 Volcanology: Physics and chemistry of magma bodies
  • 8499 Volcanology: General or miscellaneous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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