Updated: Jan 16
Is Mount Batur due, or even overdue to let off more than just steam? With so many industries and people within those industries relying on the Mount Batur volcano for an income including farmers, shop owners, the fishing industry, the sand miners, the federal government for all the taxes and fees they collect from tourism operators including ourselves that are also reliant on the volcano for an income, we thought we had best check this out from a business stand point. After doing the sums in our simple case study that follows, we decided to diversify into waterfall tours as well. See why below. Mount Batur has one of the most awe inspiring calderas on the planet. It's nearly 14 km's across x 10 kilometres across and houses Lake Batur (probably responsible for keeping the Mount Batur at least partially cooled) Mount Batur is said to be 1771 meters above sea level. Our measurements have it at less than this amount and closer to 1720 meters above sea level, however, we are only using an app on our phones. Many tourists have reported the same thing. That said... "1771" is literally carved in stone near the top of the mountain. Jt makes sense for the volcano to be dropping though. All that ash and lava over the years has to come from somewhere right? In September 2012 UNESCO granted the area World Heritage listing status because of its "Cultural Significance & Natural Scenery" It's widely believed that the first eruption happened around 500,000 years ago (give or take a few years) and is known as a "stratovolcano" type
The Balinese have a belief that loosely translates to something like the Chinese Yin & Yang. If you take from the mountain, at some stage it will want payment. Along those lines anyway. I'll probably need to get clarification of this at a later date. Anyway, here are the dates we have managed to put together over the years for our guides to be as accurate as possible when doing tours:
The "*" denotes a big eruption with lava flow.
1804 - This was the first recorded volcano eruption.
*1849: 18 years since last eruption
*1888: 34 years since last eruption
*1904 - *1905
*1921 - *1926: erupting for 5 years
*1963 - 1966: erupting for 3 years - 37 years since last eruption
1970 - *1974: erupting for 4 years
*1994 - 18 years since last eruption
7th of August 1994 - Incandescent lava ejected 300m above the summit.
1998 - 1999*
July 1998 - Ejected ash 300m above the summit
25th of May 1999 - Incandescent lave ejected that fell into the crater
*2000 22nd & 23rd of March ejected material 200 meters above the crater So our decision to venture into waterfalls as well came after this simple maths equation in our business case study:
The biggest gaps are: 1926 - *1963 = 37 years, and at the end of this big gap 1963 was a big one with lava flow
1888 - *1854 = 34 years, and at the end of this big gap1888 was a big one with lava flow
1821 - *1849 = 18 years, and at the end of the big gap 1849 was a big one with lava flow
1976 - *1994 = 18 years, and at the end of the big gap 1994 was a big one with lava flow
This is the simple maths, the simple logic. If there is a big gap, there's a big eruption with lava flow that follows:
2000 - 2023 = 23 years so far.- We're due! This is the third longest time in recorded history the volcano hasn't had a melt down of some sort. On top of this, consistently after a long stretch of no activity, it's a big one with lava flow.
Interestingly you'll be able to view a lot of these different lava flows on our 4x4 Volcano Explorer, Traditional Village & 4x4 Sunrise Sensation Private Tours because the lava is different colours. Our guides have shown the different colours to our guests for years now. Obviously, we have better technology to predict a massive event like a lava flowing volcano eruption than we had in 1963 when many villagers lost their lives. The technology in the caldera area itself may have advanced from bringing water up from the lake in buckets to watering their crops to now having with a petrol powered water pump; however, the locals just don't have access to the information required should their be an emergency where the whole caldera has to be evacuated. many thousands of people live and make a living from the rich soils in the caldera. I personally only know of one way in and out, there are probably a few more, however, a mass evacuation... you would want that lava flow to be of the slow moving variety. There are still places around now where the volcano lava flow is in on the floor of unliveable places from back in 1963. We're lucky, all we have to do is get a car out with our staff and family in it with all they can carry in the car, most will have a lot more to lose than this. So, we'll leave it with you to be the judge of when this volcano that is classed as "active" is due to let off more than steam. We'll continue to do tours of the wonderful area that is Kintamani and the Mount Batur / Caldera area. At least we now have the accurate dates recorded somewhere for everyone to enjoy. If you find dates that contradict what we have, we'd be interested in take a look if you'd care to share the information with us so we can check the credibility of the reference. Russ - CEO