BATU TARA VOLCANO,
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
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
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
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 .
Abdul (left) and our 'sailor'
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.
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
Also the question came up whether the volcano was active. By
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
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?
reaching „the backside“ of the island in the evening the
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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: - (….
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.
can be convinced also gladly from the opposite.
Street live in Maumere, and a very long
journey back to Europe was waiting for us.