Villagers in Toba Samosir, North Sumatra, are troubled by unusual events. The ground beside the houses is steaming hot and smelling like gas.
Suspected hazardous vapors appeared on Wednesday, May 27, in the yard beside a house about ten kilometers (6 miles) from Balige, the Toba Samosir regency capital.
“Hot steam and smelling like gas coming out of the pores of the soil it is feared to threaten the safety of people around, so we report them to the government,” said the resident, Purasa Silalahi in Sitoluama, Saturday, May 30.
The temperature around the house has been very hot, both day and night, for the past three weeks, said Purasa. In fact, the ceramic floors in the house feel hot.
“Steam and smell make us feel fear gas that can be burned, so that the findings are reported directly to the head of the local village,” explained Purasa.
Village Head Sitoluama, Moppo Old Pangaribuan said hot steam disturbing residents had been reported to the Department of Environment Toba Samosir.
Toba spewed out more than 2500 cubic kilometers of magma about 75,000 years ago, forming one of earths largest calderas, the 18×60-mile (35×100-km) Toba caldera, and present-day Lake Toba (see Landsat satellite photo above).
After the that eruption, resurgent doming formed the massive Samosir Island
The Toba eruption is estimated to have been 100 times greater than the 1815 Mount Tabora eruption in Indonesia that caused the following “Year Without Summer” in the northern hemisphere.
Or compare it to the last major eruption of Yellowstone, about 640,000 years ago, which produced “only” 1,000 cu km of ash.
For perspective, the May, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens produced about 1 cu km of ash.
Thanks to George Martinez for this info
Note: Yellowstone emits hot steam and foul smells every day … and no one seems overly concerned about that.