Volcano Sinabung on the island of Sumatra. Indonesia

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Sinabung is one of Indonesia’s many active volcanoes . The country is the largest island nation and is located in a zone of increased tectonic activity – the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

This stratovolcano (multi-layer volcano) 2.64 km in height was formed in the north of the island of Sumatra as a result of the superposition of continental lithospheric plates during the Pleistocene (2588 million – 11.7 thousand years ago).

The most famous volcano in Sumatra

Sinabung is a distinctly shaped cone of solidified lava and rock debris with four crater-cavities framed by rocks.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Outwardly the volcano looks like a majestic mountain, called Gunung Sinabung in Indonesian.

The top of the mountain is hidden in dense clouds and the slopes are covered by a jungle forest. At the foot of the mountain stretches Lake Kawar, whose nature attracts you with its beauty and naturalness.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Tranquil views and peaceful atmosphere of these places are not only a natural attraction, but also the worst nightmare of the inhabitants of Northern Sumatra, because Sinabung, which woke up after four centuries of quiescence, is recognized as one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet.

Geographical data, where on the map

Gunung Sinabung is located on one of the five largest islands of the Indonesian state – Sumatra, in its northern part (the province of North Sumatra). It is separated from the capital of Sumatra, the coastal city of Medan, by a distance of 60 km. The mountain is part of the ancient Bukit Barisan Range, formed exclusively by volcanoes.

On the physical map, Sinabungu corresponds to the coordinates 03°10′12″ N. 98°23′31″ E.

Animal and plant life

The surface of the slopes of the volcano, with the exception of two frozen lava flows, is covered by a dense tropical forest. At an altitude of up to 1500 m, it is represented by ficus, a variety of palms, and lianas. The most common plant on Sinabunga is the giant bamboo. Higher up are evergreen oaks, conifers, laurels and maples.

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The animal world of the mountain is represented mainly by insects, lizards and reptiles. There are some species of rodents, whitetails and porcupines. The largest animal in Sinabunga is the Sumatran orangutan, a species that inhabits some areas of North Sumatra and is endangered.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Almost all of the flora and fauna of the volcano are endemic. This is due to the volcanic activity of the mountain, because each eruption entails the death of many species, of which only a few are able to restore the population. And in periods of quiescence, the danger to all life comes from clouds of sulfur dioxide gas, which are emitted by huge solfatars.

The eruptions

Sinabung (the most active of the country’s 127 active volcanoes) has changed the lives of people in North Sumatra forever. Awakened in August 2010, it has not subsided to this day with systematic eruptions.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Between 7,000 and 20,000 people are forced to leave their homes and don’t know if they will be able to return this time. The Indonesian volcano Sinabung has erupted more than 10 times in almost 10 years.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Eruption Details of the disaster Consequences
August 2010 The column of ash and gas rose to 1.5 km and the eruption was accompanied by tremors. Two people were killed.
November 2013 Volcano threw out ash column of 2, 3 km high. 20,000 people left their homes within 3 km radius.
January 2014 The phenomenon caused about 30 ash emissions and 60 red-hot lava, which spread over an area 5 km south of the volcano. The death toll was 14 people.
February 2014. Gas and ash rose 1.5 km above the summit. Fifteen people were killed.
June 2015 At the moment of the eruption for the first time in history the volcano dome collapsed. The ash, having risen to a height of 500 m, spread over a radius of 2.5 km. Timely evacuation this time helped avoid loss of life.
February 2016. Another Sinabunga activity triggered the dome collapse and the outpouring of red-hot lava.
February 2018. A pillar of ash rose 5 km upward, and 30 min later reached 16.7 km.
June 2019. The volcano erupted a column of gas, ash and red-hot rocks 7 km up. The powerful eruption lasted 8-9 minutes. More than 20,000 residents left their homes.
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The consequences of the eruptions.

Eruptions of the Sinabung volcano always have the most serious consequences for the region’s economy and local residents. Each time the local residents have to spend many days cleaning up the mountains of ash from the action of volcanic lava falling from the sky onto everything around them.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Interesting Facts

  • During the eruption of Sinabunga the sounds of its activity can be heard within a radius of 8 km.
  • Because of the large amount of volcanic minerals in the soil, local farmers harvest several crops a year.
  • During the strongest eruptions, dark tornadoes called “dust devils” formed over Sinabunga.
  • After eruptions, a layer of volcanic ash covers everything around it in a thick layer. It also, by polluting the atmosphere, causes a temporary cooling of the climate. This phenomenon is called a volcanic winter. The longest volcanic winter, caused by the Sinabunga eruption, lasted 9 months.

What’s interesting here

The beautiful and dangerous Indonesian volcano, despite its activity, attracts many travelers every year. Climbers who dream of conquering the peak of almost 2.5 km, educational groups and independent tourists come here.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

Every person who visits Sinabung is worth seeing:

  • The frozen lava flows preserved on the slopes after numerous eruptions.
  • Lake Kawar, located at the foot of the volcano. It has particularly beautiful views from the top of the volcano.
  • The ghost villages, devastated by the disasters of the last 9 years.
  • The craters of Sinabunga, framed by bizarre rocks.

How to get to the volcano for a tourist

Sinabung is located on the edge of the island of Sumatra, in its northern part. The distance from the capital of Indonesia Jakarta is 1.4 km.

Most independent tourists begin their journey to the famous fire mountain from the airport in Medan. From here you need to take a shuttle bus to Boris station.

From the bus stop next to this station leave for Berastagi, a mountain town whose name literally translates as “spice market”. The breathtaking road along the serpentine mountains takes about 45 minutes.

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Sinabung (the volcano is only 25 km from the town) is popular with tourists coming to Berastagi. In the town center, where the bus from Medan arrives, there is a tourist office where everyone can read the map and find out the way to the volcano.

Optionally, you can take the local bus or rent a motorcycle, which is not difficult to drive yourself. The only condition is not to approach the volcano closer than 5000 m. Orientation should be guided by a sign that is installed on the road leading from Lake Kawar. Then in the surroundings of Sinabunga and on its slope it is allowed to move only on foot.

Excursions

Tours to Sinabunga in groups or with an individual guide can be arranged at the same Berastagi Tourist Office. Tours start early in the morning, because due to the terrain, by 11 am before noon dense clouds rise from the lake, hiding the top of the volcano with its craters and the magnificent views of the island.

Sinabung volcano, Indonesia. Eruption, photo, map, where is it located

The program includes a visit to Lake Kavar, an overview of the nearby settlements, climbing to the top of the volcano through the rainforest. If guided and group excursions to the volcano are not available for any reason, a guide to Sinabung can be found among the locals.

Volcano Sinabung on the island of Sumatra. Indonesia

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