Indonesia 2011

Volcano: Batu Tara

  August 2011

 M.Rietze, M.Szeglat, C.Weber, Th. Boeckel

in deutsch

  Cinema 

Vulkan Batu Tara und Anak Krakatau im August 2011, Boeckel Vulkan Batu Tara und Anak Krakatau im August 2011, Boeckel


BATU TARA VOLCANO, (STROMBOLI II)

BATU TARA, MAPS BY GOOGLE EARTH  BATU TARA, MAPS BY GOOGLE EARTH  BATU TARA, MAPS BY GOOGLE EARTH

Lesser Sunda Islands, 7.792°S, 123.579°E, Maps by Google earth

History / Data: About this volcano very less information’s exists. Only spare info’s you can find on the website of the Smithsonian Instution. Batu Tara lies north of the main volcanic arc and is noted for its potassic leucite-bearing basanitic and tephritic rocks. The first historical eruption from Batu Tara, during 1847-52, produced explosions and a lava flow. Information’s from John Search website says. The uninhabited island Batu Tara is the northern-most active volcano in the Adonara Pantar sector of the Sunda arc. This is at the boundary of the collision of the north moving Australia tectonic plate, and the Sunda-Banda arc. Batu Tara volcano is located 230 km above the Benioff zone in a region where the arc crust is relatively young and thin. Rocks from Batu Tara contain crystals that formed in different magmas.

The volcano Batu Tara is often mentioned by pilots or sailors who discovered sometimes ash clouds over the summit up to 1,5 km. During the present time nearly every year the volcano has stronger eruptive phases with short breaks.

Start into the unknown

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

As you surely noticed from the previous volcanic stations (comes soon), we did not become straight overwhelmed with volcanic activities. The Batu Tara Volcano was our last hope. Actually everything was already doomed to failure. The contact to Larantuka in East-Flores to Chris broke away, the first member drove doubtfully home, because of a general failure of the target. The previous evening we sat in Larantuka still without a boat till late night. Heavily pouty we had our noodle snak, the tendency was record-suspiciously miserable. If the brilliant idea of Chris, to rent in the new port a high-sea-suited tuna-cutter would not have been, this Indonesia tour would have received easily a boring taste .

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw  Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel

 Abdul (left) and our 'sailor' group

An adventurous feeling expect you, to discover an unknown mark, which is not even drawn out in the maps. Even the natives do not know the island BATU TARA. If someone would know this island at all, you have to ask the native fisher men. But, the fisher men explained to us that the island is enchanted, and bad spirits lives on it. Landing is not feasible because of ritual reasons at all. Well, now we’ll finally conquer a taboo island which nobody knows, and the bad spirit is ruling. Hmm, grumble… O.k. one argument was, with the smaller wood boats it would not be possible to cross the 90 kilometres distance in rough sea on the open ocean without prejudice. Another solution would have been to select the shortest distance of approximately 60 km from the place Sagu lain more east. But with this solution you would have had temporal difficulties, because of the ferry connection. Thus, the tuna-cutter was the last rescue.

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris WebercwBatu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel   

Sceptically but curious we began the trip into the unknown. The passage took about 7 hours, but after approximately 5 hours we could recognize the first shape of the Batu Tara Island. Also the question came up whether the volcano was active. By the satellite camera Modis (right) Martin could often recognize a stronger amount of heat. Were these data reliable? Yes, from a distance of 15 kilometres larger ash clouds could be located.

During the further approach we noticed increasingly that this volcano is a true stone block in the sea. The next question arises, can we land there at all?

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

While reaching „the backside“ of the island in the evening the “Sciara del Fuoco “appears. This name actually carries the fire chute of the Italian volcano Stromboli. And really, this volcano must be the twin volcano of the Stromboli. Even the summit resembles the Pizzo. The fire chute is turned away similar from the mainland. However, the crater is situated on an approximately 2/3rd height, surrounded of a powerful steep crater funnel. Martin compared the structure of crater rather with a carious tooth. The volcano is indicated with a total height of 748 meters osl, and has a ground diameter size of approximately 2-3 km.

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel   

Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel    Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel    Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel

On the next morning the investigation began for the landing, and after further coastal trips we stated that at ebb-tide smaller beach strips exist. About 100 meters beside the Sciara a narrow landing strip appeared. The big question was how to transport the photo equipment completely dry on this island.

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw  Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw  Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw  Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel       Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel      

But a native fisherman whom we had onboard could deal however with the log boat so skillfully, that the doubts for a crash-landing in the Thor Heyerdahl style felt into the background. While asking the question whether shark fishes are exists here, the last twenty meters nevertheless were swum more briskly. For me it was no matter, because I took the Batu Tara log boat taxi. Yes, yes, on the backway I already swam without boat.

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

The night began, and apart from the fascinating lava show, the eruption noise was a second highlight. Even in the distance of approximately 700 meters the ground tremored during stronger outbreaks. The fire chute appears impressing, whereby constantly large plastic lava broke down underneath the crater. At night this calved lava rocks from the tough lava-flow appeared as fire wheels which found their way end with a clearly audible underwater explosion.

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

The active Strombolian activity was most positive. In the interval of 15 minutes we registered smaller eruptions. Larger outbreaks of for instance 300-400m height were observed in the rhythm of 30-45 minutes. Already in the first night on the boat we noticed that the lava ejected far over crater edge. Often the forest was bombarded whereby the timber line was lain approx. 500 meters osl. Thus the idea was clarified for ascending the crater. The very steep area could not be defeated without an immense expenditure of time. Questionable was also, whether the close and unknown flora would have admitted a tolerable way at all.

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Chris Webercw

A further mysterious highlight was those lightning phenomena in the sea, which appeared in a distance of approximately 5-10 meters before the coast. These moved into approximately two meters broad and several meters long white shining stripes moving rapidly back and forth, divided and united again. Chris meant it would be Krill in addition, I thought may small shining fishes in larger swarming. At least this feature was very mysterious and I had the little feeling to be involved in the film ‚Pirates of the Caribbean'. Does here the volcanic spirit lives here in reality? Jitter: - (….

Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel    Batu Tara 2011, Indonesien Flores, by Boeckel

Finally it was an indescribable adventure in the unknown and I was much surprised that one can discover on our digitally through combed globe a still unexplored land. For us it is fameless, that someone before us entered this volcanic island, - and photographed the Batu Tara volcano from a fixed land position actively.

But we can be convinced also gladly from the opposite.

Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel    Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel    Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel

Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel    Indonesia Batu Tara, Flores by Boeckel

Street live in Maumere, and a very long journey back to Europe was waiting for us.


back

Krakatau 2011, by Th.Boeckel Kawa Ijen 2011, by Th.Boeckel Bromo 2011, by Th.Boeckel
Batu Tara   Krakatau   Kawah-Ijen    Bromo


   ALPE by M.Rietze    VEI by Chris Weber     vulkane.net    by R.Roscoe


 Etna    Stromboli    Volcano world    Counter Cinema

From Etna to Stromboli     Planets & Space

© 2011, Photos und Text Thorsten Boeckel(TB), last modification 30.08.2011