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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

King of Tambora

Went to a seminar over in geo given by Haraldur Sigurðsson, talking about fieldwork on the Tambora 1815 eruption.

Short version: probably largest volcanic eruption in historical times, ~ 100 km3 of lava and ash. Pyroclastic eruption, magma chamber collapse leaving a km deep, 8 km wide caldera, top 1.5 km of mountain collapsed in.
Over 100,000 people died.
Sulphate aerosol emission lead to "year without summer" in 1816 and widespread crop failure.

Presented interesting new fieldwork, including the discovery of archaeological remains that may be part of the legendary capital of the kingdom of Tambora (which was totally destroyed, leaving only 4 survivors [they were on a tall rocky hill], apparently viet-khmer descended coastal traders, 48 words of their language survived on record).

Haraldur

Anyway, he told us a story, aprocyphal, but interesting, and I could find no record of it on the web (well, with a 30 sec google using no more than 4 keywords, that's barely trying).

So, from memory, paraphrasing, here goes:

Once upon a time, a visitor from another island came to the kingdom of Tambora.
He went to the local mosque, in the capital town of Tambora, for prayers. As it happened, the king and his retinue were there also at prayer, but the king had brought a favourite dog with him into the mosque.
The visitor was upset by this, and spoke loudly and widely against it in the town that day. Word got back to the king, and he bade the visitor to come dine with him. During the meal, unknown to the visitor, the king had the man served pieces of the dog cooked to seem like one of the courses the others were eating.
The next day, the visitor heard in town the evil the king had done, and he became very angry and denounced the king.
The king heard of this, and ordered his guards to seize the visitor, take him up the mountain, and kill him on the spot. Which they did.
As they walked down, they noticed smoke started rising from the place where they committed the murder.
After two years of small low level eruptions, the mountain exploded killing everyone.
The end.


There is a lesson or two here.

One is that you should not violate the rules of hospitality and abuse visitors.

The other is that, even if you are the King of Tambora himself, you should heed criticism, even (or especially) from outsiders. They might be right.

6 Comments:

Anonymous britton said...

The lesson I will take away from this story is:
If someone has a problem with your dog, do not make them eat your dog.

Also, if you're a dog, stay out of mosques.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Steinn said...

Nah, just be consistently nice to your dog.

The sin was not the dog in mosque, the sin was violation of guest rules.
The stupidity was in reacting negatively to the negative feedback.

Although, as a famous Icelander said at a critical moment in history, "who were the goda angry at when this flowed?" - pointing at a 10,000 year old lava field.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Adam Solomon said...

Hmmm...is he a relative?

Interesting story, btw.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Steinn said...

No relation, I don't have any brothers.

Kris Sigurdson is also safe, even if you ignore the difference in spelling.

3:58 PM  
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Blogger Diana said...

Mount Tambora (or Tomboro) is an active stratovolcano on Sumbawa island, Indonesia. Sumbawa is flanked both to the north and south by oceanic crust, and Tambora was formed by the active subduction zones beneath it. sportsbook, This raised Mount Tambora as high as 4,300 m (14,000 ft), making it one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago, and drained off a large magma chamber inside the mountain. It took centuries to refill the magma chamber, its volcanic activity reaching its peak in April 1815. http://www.enterbet.com

3:57 PM  

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