On this date in 201 years ago in 1815, the Tambora volcano in Indonesia erupted. This was the most powerful volcanic eruption of at least the past 1,000 years. Tens of thousands of people were killed in a torrent of pyroclastic flows and tsunami waves. Given the population today, that number would have been in the millions had it erupted recently.

The Tambora eruption had a lasting effect on the world. So much dust and sulfur dioxide was injected into the atmosphere that the sun was dimmed. For the next three years, there were widespread summer freezes, droughts and brutal winter cold waves around the world, killing millions more from cold and starvation. Again, with today’s population, such an eruption would cause mass havoc and terrible destruction like we have not seen in our lives.

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