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The Toba Super Volcano

The Illoreaen Saga novels tells the tales of survivors of the greatest Catastrophe that hominins ever endured.


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toba-supervulkano-graphThe ash outfall of the Toba volcano (75 000 years ago) was more devastating than the  largest Yellowstone Park eruptions (2.1 million years ago – long before we came into existence) and the comparatively tiny one of Mount Saint Helen.


  • The Toba Super Volcano erupted  approximately 75 000 years ago. It was the biggest volcanic eruption in at least 3 million years.
  • It occurred in the current Sumatra and the remnant caldera is called the  Toba Lake and is 100 km long by 40 km wide.
  • The eruption killed most Hominins that existed at the time.
  • Ice cores and other indicators show that the whole world entered an extensive cold spell at about that time.
  • A volcanic winter, which may have lasted up to a thousand years, took hold all over the world.
  • Earth quakes caused by volcanic eruptions come in three  distinct phases propagating as different types of waves and at different speeds. Near the source this is not easy to detect but over a large distance, they arrive at distinctly different times.
  • A worldwide storm wind and Tsunami would have swept round the earth (peaking at the opposite side of the globe as the shock waves meet and re-enforce there).
  • To escape the effects of a volcanic winter survivors must find somewhere warm and humid enough for plants to grow during the cold volcanic winter.
  • Toba was the bigest, but we must expect that more calderas of Supervolcanoes  will be discovered – for example that of the Campanian ignimbrite eruption, thirty nine thousand years ago.


Toba supervolcano
Date 74,100—75,900 years ago
Location Sumatra, Indonesia
2.6845°N 98.8756°E

From Google:

The Toba eruption apparently coincided with the onset of the last glacial period.

The Toba eruption has been linked to a genetic bottleneck in human evolution about 50,000 years ago,[33][34] which may have resulted from a severe reduction in the size of the total human population due to the effects of the eruption on the global climate.[35]

According to the genetic bottleneck theory, between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, human populations sharply decreased to 3,000–10,000 surviving individuals.[36][37] It is supported by genetic evidence suggesting that today’s humans are descended from a very small population of between 1,000 and 10,000 breeding pairs that existed about 70,000 years ago.

Some evidence points to genetic bottlenecks in other animals in the wake of the Toba eruption.

Other relevant publications:

  1. Volcano Discoveries: A Photographic Journey Around the World
    Hard cover– December 1, 2015

by Ingrid Smet (Author), Tom Pfeiffer (Author)

On the Toba Super Volcano Eruption and the Climatic effects:


4. Climate change since the advent of humans

Please tell me of other publications you find interesting (there must be many that I have missed).

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