The Environmental Impact Of Volcanic Eruptions In Indonesia


"Most volcanoes in Indonesia belong to the Sunda Volcanic Arc, stretching over 3,000 kilometres from NW Sumatra to the Banda Sea. This volcanic arc results from the subduction of Indian Ocean crust beneath the Asian Plate and includes 76% of the region's volcanoes."

- Volcano Discovery 2021

In this article, we will take a look at the environmental consequences and refer to key historical volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, the country with the highest number and density of active volcanoes in the world.

Volcanic eruptions, explosive or not, always have environmental consequences, both regional and global. These may include secondary weather events such as landslides, flooding, and wildfires.

According to WHO, there are about 1500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide.

What Happens During A Volcanic Eruption?

The Earth’s temperature increases as we move in a direction of its nuclei. Because of hot temperatures in this region, some rocks melt and become a thick substance called magma. When magma rises to the Earth’s surface, volcanic eruptions happen.

When an eruption takes place, the magma stored in the volcano flows out of it in the vicinity of the eruption. Thus, the major component of volcanic eruptions is magmatic material. This material solidifies into large particles that spread into the atmosphere in the form of ashes.

It can take from minutes to weeks for the last particle to reach the Earth’s surface again.

During volcanic eruptions, different gases are also released, water, nitrogen, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide the most abundant. Water and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases, which means they contribute to global warming. However, their impact is negligible because of the high concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere.

Volcanic Eruptions In Indonesia

Notable volcanic eruptions in Indonesia's modern history include:

​Volcano Location

​Date of Eruption


​Merapi Central Java