Nestled on the picturesque island of Lombok, Indonesia, Mount Rinjani, a commanding volcano, has left its mark through several eruptions. As the second-highest volcano in Indonesia, Rinjani’s volcanic activity, orchestrated by the Rinjani Caldera, has shaped not only its formidable landscape but also the surrounding regions.
Temporary Closure Amidst Extreme Weather
As of January 1, 2024, all trekking and select non-trekking destinations around Mount Rinjani are temporarily closed. Contrary to expectations, this routine closure is not directly linked to recent eruptions but is a response to extreme weather changes. This deliberate hiatus serves a dual purpose, allowing the ecosystem to rejuvenate while giving nature the solitude it needs.
Unfazed Beauty Amidst Change
Despite alterations in weather patterns and intermittent volcanic activity, Rinjani’s captivating beauty remains undiminished. Serving as the busiest hiking trail, Rinjani National Park continues to draw enthusiasts engaging in activities such as hiking, camping, swimming, photography, and cycling. Beyond its recreational allure, the park stands as a premier flora and fauna education center, showcasing tropical forests with evergreen trees and high-value plant species.
Ideal Exploration During the Dry Season
To fully appreciate the extraordinary beauty of Mount Rinjani, visitors are encouraged to plan their expeditions during the dry season. This time, marked by safety and reduced risks, stands in stark contrast to the potential hazards posed by landslides and floods during the rainy season. Exploring Rinjani during the dry season reveals the lushness of its forest habitat, with towering fir trees thriving in the fertile mountain soil enriched by the volcanic activity of the Rinjani caldera.
Geological Marvels and Volcanic History
Mount Rinjani, a product of Mount Samalas’ volcanic activity centuries ago, stands as a testament to breathtaking geological formations. The Segara Anak Lake Caldera, Mount Barujari, Mount Rombongan, and Mount Rinjani itself have all been shaped by the volcanic history of Mount Samalas. Notably, Mount Barujari, Rinjani’s subsidiary, has experienced several eruptions throughout history, documented by the Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Indonesia.
Detailed Account of Eruptions
Rinjani’s volcanic history is marked by 11 recorded activities, ranging from small eruptions to impactful events causing crop damage and earthquakes. The eruptions spanned from 1846 to 2009, showcasing the mountain’s dynamic nature. Notably, each eruption, while posing challenges, also contributed positively to the fertility of the mountain soil, resulting in the lushness of Rinjani National Park.
This volcanic event occurred in 1846 when the eruption occurred within Rinjani’s caldera. including Mount Barujari and Mount rombongan.
In 1884, a volcanic event occurred on Rinjani, manifesting in August with visible smoke and flames. Remarkably, the second eruption left no recorded casualties.
In 1901, Rinjani experienced volcanic activity during the night, resulting in ash rain over the capital of Lombok, Mataram. The eruption produced a loud explosion sound from the Rinjani caldera.
Five years following the 1901 event, in 1906, another eruption with a similar explosion pattern took place in the Rinjani caldera.
In November 1909, three years subsequent to the fourth volcanic event, Rinjani’s caldera witnessed another eruption. This event caused river water to turn cloudy, and thick smoke rose into the skies of Lombok.
The volcanic event of 1915 involved the emission of smoke from the Rinjani caldera, causing no major damage.
Commencing in late December 1943 and extending into May 1944, the seventh eruption had a significant impact. Ash rains for nearly seven days led to crop damage, and the eruption released material in the form of rocks and fire rays. Earthquakes also accompanied this powerful eruption.
In 1966, Rinjani experienced eruptions of considerable strength. This volcanic event resulted in an earthquake and lava eruption originating from Mount Barujari, often referred to as the son of Mount Rinjani. Although agricultural crops failed due to extensive ash rains, no casualties or fatalities were reported.
Decades after the Rinjani caldera was considered dormant, volcanic activity resumed in 1994, characterized by an ash eruption.
In October 2004, the Rinjani Caldera became active once again, releasing volcanic ash.
The 2009 volcanic activity raised concerns among residents as thick brown smoke reached a height of 1000 meters above Mount Barujari. This eruption produced a rumbling sound and a weak boom.
Mount Barujari, a subsidiary of Mount Rinjani, erupted again, producing ash that reached approximately 2000 meters from the top of Mount Rinjani. This eruption, reaching an estimated height of 6000 meters above sea level when observed from the mainland, was accompanied by a recorded small earthquake lasting about 100 seconds.
A total of 11 volcanic activities have been recorded in the Rinjani caldera, ranging from minor events to larger eruptions causing crop damage and earthquakes. Additionally, these volcanic eruptions contribute positively to the fertility of the mountain soil, explaining the lush and dense forests in Rinjani National Park. The diverse plant and animal species in the park, including protected plants like the morel mushroom in Mount Rinjani National Park, further highlight the ecological richness shaped by volcanic activity.