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Near Extinction and Rebirth: There isn’t a Site more Responsible for Humanity’s Fate than Lake Toba

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You can count on Indonesia for great natural wonders. Next up is the island of Sumatra. Want to know what’s there? Lots to say the least. But let’s focus on one natural wonder. This one is a result of one of planet Earth’s greatest events. One that shaped the entire world into what it is today. That place is Lake Toba.

So, what is the significance of this place? Lake Toba is a volcanic lake, by and far the largest of its kind in the world. One interesting feature is its large island in the lake (it is called Samosir Island in case you were wondering).

The lake is huge! It covers an area over 1700 square kilometers. To put things in perspective, that’s 1000 square kilometers more than Singapore!

Ok. The lake is impressive today. But what about its historical significance? Sometime about 70,000 years ago, a catastrophic volcanic eruption took place. How devastating was it? Scientists have proven that it was the largest volcanic eruption anywhere on Earth in the last 25 million years. That must be some big explosion!

The entire human population was almost wiped out from it, leaving only a couple thousand survivors. We were on the brink of extinction!  And to top it off, your physical presence is a result of this historic event as well. The eruption caused a population bottleneck in Central Eastern Africa and India. That, however, didn’t last long. It is also around this time that the small human population started migrating out of these regions and back to the far reaches of the globe, thus resulting in the re-birth of the human being’s genetic diversity that we see today.

And that’s not all. The aftermath of the explosion resulted in a volcanic winter in which the entire world’s temperature declined at around 3-5 degrees Celsius and lowered to as much as 15 degrees Celsius in higher altitudes. You’re looking at the very spot that has changed and shaped the world we live in today. Amazing!

Now you know the history, why not bask in its presence? The lake is a wonderful place to come for a relaxing day or two. You got the lake, the island, surrounding hills and volcanoes all forming one atmospheric place. And on Samosir? A great place to do nothing at all. Or if you want to see some hot springs, head over to the western end of the island.

Lake Toba is a great spot to conclude your Sumatra experience. Find out more about Sumatra and your chance to visit the historic spot with our North Sumatra Soft Adventure holiday tour.

You were almost never born. Who do you have to thank (or condemn) for the bear extinction of the human race that eventually led to your unique and diverse individuality?

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