The Mystery Eruption

The 1808 mystery eruption is one or possibly a series of as yet unidentified volcano eruptions. Which directly lead to a dramatic cooling down period during the early 19th century.

Sulfate concentration in ice cores drilled from Greenland ice shelfs were the first clue,which lead scientists to consider such an event. Isotope data later would pinpiont the time frame as being before 1810(general consensus is the years 1808-1809)and peaking in 1815

Until the 1990s, climate experts considered dramatic weather changes in the early decade of the 1800s as a normal though unusal phenomenon dubbed the Little Ice Age. But now consider the 1808 mystery to be a contributing factor to that era’s climate. Including directly causing 1818 the year without a summer.

So where did this eruption(s) happen?

The expectation that any eruptions of such large magnitude should have been noticed at the time added to the mystery. Records from the estimated time frame across the globe were shifted through.

But no new developments were discovered until 2014. When PhD student Alvaro Guevara-Murua and Dr Caroline Williams of the University of Bristol discovered an account of atmospheric events consistent with volcanic activity by Colombian scientist Francisco José de Caldas.

Caldas worked as Director of the Astronomical Observatory of Bogotá for five years from 1805-1810. On December 11 1809 Caldas wrote a report stating in part that “transparent cloud that obstructs the sun’s brilliance” at Bogotá. The odd cloud may have been aerosolized sulfuric acid (a common chemical found within volcanic gases) Caldas then mentioned in the same pecie of writing , the weather had been unusually cold, with frosts.

To the south, in Peru, physician Hipólito Unanue made similar observations in Lima. These reports led scientific investigation personal to hypothesis that 1808 eruption had happened a week after December 4 1808. Caldas’and Unanue’s accounts indicated the existence of aerosolized vapers covering a distance of at least 1,600 miles. Into both north and southern hemispheres. Scientist further theorized the volcano responsible for the 1808 eruption could be located in the tropics. Likely in the southern hemisphere.

The area of Pacific Ocean between Indonesia and Tonga is an area in the tropical regions west of Colombia and Peru with candidate volcanoes and with little writting/record reporting at that time. This area had no European colonies making tangible record keeping impossible. No know indigenous records written or oral are known to exist. How ever if the colpurate volcano was there it would make sense for odd weather to of been seen so far as South America.

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