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

Self, S.; Gertisser, R.; Thordarson, T.; Rampino, M. R. and Wolff, J. A. (2004). Magma volume, volatile emissions, and stratospheric aerosols from the 1815 eruption of Tambora. Geophysical Research Letters, 31(20) L20608.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2004GL020925

Abstract

We suggest that the Tambora 1815 eruption 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 SO2 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”.

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