The Eruption of Toba: A Supereruption

1633 WordsJan 31, 20187 Pages
1. Introduction 1.1. Toba Catastrophe Lake Toba is located in Sumatra, Indonesia (Figure 1). The Toba Eruption was the last of three major eruptions, which occurred over the past million years, creating a volcanic caldera1. The most recent eruption, also known as the Youngest Toba Tuff erupted around 73,000 (± 4000) years ago2. This created a global catastrophe that effected many species, including humans. Many researchers have linked this even to the most recent bottleneck in human evolution resulting in a dramatic drop in the human population to only about 3,000 to 10,000 in a very short period of time3. 1.2 Definition of Supereruption The term “supereruption” was introduced after the Toba eruption in 1992 to describe the devastating effects that occurred5. To this date, there is no strict definition however; an eruption that can produce over 300 cubic kilometers of magma would have global consequences and therefore, be considered ‘super’6. The volume of magma that erupted from Toba was much greater than any other eruption previously recorded2. The fragmental deposit from such a large eruption can produce volumes of 1000km3 or greater7. Therefore, according to this definition, the latest eruption of Toba can definitely be considered a supereruption. 1.3 Comparison to Yellowstone Eruptions Figure 2 compares the volume of material erupted from several different eruptions and it is clear the Yellowstone eruptions were of significant size. Three of the eruptions

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