Island in a crater

74 000 years ago, the supervolcano mount Toba exploded in the largest volcanic eruption of the past 2 000 000 years.  This eruption was so large that it caused a mini ice-age and covered the whole of southeast Asia with a 15cm average layer of ash.  In one place in central India, the mount Toba ash layer was found to be 6m thick.  The collapsed caldera slowly filled with water to produce what is now known as Lake Toba, the largest and deepest volcanic lake on earth.  The island Samosir, located in the middle of this lake, was formed by the rising of the caldera floor due to movements in the magma chamber below.  Lake Toba is oval in shape and about 100km long by 30km wide.  We have been staying for the past few days in Tuk Tuk, a small town on the island Samosir.  This island within an island contains forests, mountains lakes and waterfalls, plus a number of towns and settlements.  Despite the astonishing beauty of this area, tourism is surprisingly low.  This has to do with a number of political problems and environmental disasters over the past 20 years.  The Bali bombings in 2002 and the tsunami that struck the northern provinces of Sumatra in 2004 are a couple of the reasons for this lack of tourism.  As a result of this we were able to find high quality accommodation for very cheap.  Today we rented a motorcycle and toured around the island looking for panoramic views.  It took us all day just to drive half way around the island and back.

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