Volcano: Bromo, Tengger
R.Roscoe, M.Rietze, M.Szeglat
Since many eruptions of Bromo volcano have been short-lived in the past, we had feared that it may never be possible to reach indonesia in time to experience the volcano in action. However, the eruption starting on 26. Nov. 2010 was still going quite strong by early March 2011, so we decided to give it a try. In the end, Martin was joined by Marc and Richard.After the arduous 2-day trip to the Tengger Caldera, in which Bromo is located, we arrived to see the volcano in a relatively low phase of activity, with mild degassing and occasional weak ash emissions. This didn’t bode well and the afternoon cloud common to the rainy season added to the tristess. The first night was clear and we stayed up till early in the morning observing the weak activity. Due to this and the long flight, nobody was very fit in the morning and th alarm-clocks were initially ignored. When Martin finally headed outside he came running back to tell us that a powerful eruption was in progress. After taking numerous shots of the eruption from near the hotel, we jumped onto the back of a couple of mopeds and sped up the hill towards the lower viewpoint. Luckily the eruption was still in progress when we arrived.
Spirits were up now that we knew that Bromo was still capable of significant activity. By late morning, activity had subsided and rain had arrived. In the evening we headed down to the temple near the base of Bromo to spend a night there observing the activity. This largely involved ash emissions, rather than the strombolian activity we were hoping to document at night. During the length of the visit, Bromo was alternating between strombolian and ash-rich eruption phases, often lasting hours at a time. Due to the wind direction, we suffered from ash-fall for most of the night and could only make the odd image.
The next day, we had heavy rain in the late morning and pondered over which position to take up the next night. Finally, we decided to ascend to the rim of the crater at the higher south-east side, rather than near the staircase where we had observed numerous bomb impacts. This decision was vindicated by the fact that no fresh impact craters could be seen when we reached this side of the rim. Arriving just before dusk we were greeted by the extremely load eruption noises. These were so strong that we spent much of the night which bits of paper handkerchief in our ears and additionally with our hands covering them. It was also rather cold as we hadnt planned to stay all night and had thus not brought sleeping bags along. The eruptions were however so impressive from this close that nobody wanted to leave and the weather was OK, although several thunderstorms could be seen passing nearby. Numerous strombolian eruptions and some ash venting could be observed.
In the morning we observed a smallish ash eruption before heading rapidly down the east flank. This proved more complicated than expected. Whilst the upper flank was quickly negotiated, the labyrinth of erosion ridges at the base of the cone necessitated the use of some climbing skills. The landscape was entirely coated in ash and remains of dead vegetation could be seen in places. Finally, we emerged near the track and were met by some of the ever-present moped drivers who picked us up and took us back to the Lava View Hotel on the caldera rim for breakfast.
The weather was poor during the afternoon and early evening, so the planned climb of Batok cone, overlooking Bromo, was delayed. Finally Martin headed off and about an hour later Richard and Marc. Ash-fall was again heavy near the temple and on Batok, and “Indonesian Belly” took its toll on Marc who had to return to the hotel. Whilst Martin had changed his plan to climb Batok due to the ash-fall (and had headed round the back of it and up the heavily eroded flank of Segarawedi Kidul), Richard tried to ascend but lost the path on the ash-covered flank and them waited for daylight to complete the ascent. Due to the incescant heavy ash-fall the camera equipment had to remain packed away and no photos were possible during the night. Ashing activity was reduced at dawn and Richard climbed the summit with Martin following about an hour later after returning from his excursion up S. Kidul. Activity was however now low and light conditions were poor due to clouds. Nevertheless, it was possible to make videos of a couple of powerful shockwaves produced by the volcano.
During the descent from Batok, Martin and Richard couldn’t help feeling that the volcano was building up to another strong eruptive phase, since these often followed periods of relative inactivity. However, breakfast was calling and it was also time to pack before leaving at midday. After another moped ride to the hotel and after settling to breakfast, the predicted big eruption commenced and over an hour of intense ash venting could be observed before the volcano became completely obscured by clouds.
The rainy season weather had restricted observations somewhat, yet the experience of visiting Bromo during an eruption was nevertheless fantastic. Also, as far as we were aware we had made the first documentation of activity from the crater rim during the present eruptive phase
by R.Roscoe ALPE by M.Rietze vulkane.net
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