Follow me down the Internet rabbit hole this Friday the 13th as I share five interesting facts about ‘The Year Without a Summer.’ You don’t want to miss number five!
We’ve all done it. Picked up our phones to check the weather or send an email, only to find ourselves 30 minutes later down the rabbit hole that is the Internet. I fell victim myself just a few minutes ago. I picked up my phone to check the weather for the weekend and found myself three videos in wondering how I got there in the first place.
Thankfully with each video I learned something new. Did you know, for instance, the giant circles you see flying over the Great Plains aren’t actually “crop circles?” They’re the circles created from center pivot irrigation systems. And they’re virtually impossible to see from the ground. Growing up, my best friends’ father was an engineer and built pivots for farmers. So I knew they existed. And I also saw giant circles below when flying over the U.S. But it took me until now to put two and two together. #themoreyouknow
After I learned about center pivot irrigation, I went on to learn about the ‘The Year Without a Summer.’ In 1815 there was a massive volcano eruption — Mount Tambora. The aftermath of the eruption was disastrous and lasted for a very long time. In fact, the eruption was so disruptive to the atmosphere that the summer of 1816 was dubbed ‘The Year Without a Summer.’
I find this both completely fascinating and also somewhat frightening given how long it’s taking the spring of 2018 to arrive. I realize these are two completely different scenarios, but I thought I’d share five interesting facts about ‘The Year Without a Summer’ anyway — especially since it’s Friday the 13th!
Five Interesting Facts about ‘The Year Without a Summer’
1. The eruption of Mount Tambora was the deadliest in human history.
In 1815 there was a massive eruption of a volcano in the area now known as Indonesia. It killed at least 71,000 people and possibly more. In addition to the immediate impact of the people it directly affected, the eruption of Mount Tambora had a global impact reaching and disrupting the atmosphere around the world for an entire decade.
2. The eruption of Mount Tambora caused a volcanic winter.
The eruption of Mount Tambora spewed millions of tons of dust, ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. It was so powerful it essentially blocked solar radiation which kept Earth much cooler than usual — 3˚F cooler. It was so much colder that…
3. There was snow in June, freezing temperatures in July, and frost in August.
On June 8, 1816, it was reported that 18 inches of snow fell on Cabot, VT. Also — frozen birds dropped dead in field and sheep froze. Yet on June 22 it was 101 degrees in Salem, Mass. Can you imagine?! (Read more here.)
4. Crops failed, there was widespread famine, and icky disease.
With the wacky temperatures and atmospheric conditions, crops failed from frost exposure which lead to famine. And this wasn’t just in the U.S. This occurred in Asia and Europe as well. And as is almost always the case, with lack of food and adverse weather conditions, disease spread as well. Cholera and typhus fever were rampant.
5. Frankenstein was born.
The summer of 1816 was so cool and unpleasant that many people spent the summer indoors. Mary Shelley spent the summer with friends at Lake Geneva. It was customary to tell “ghost stories” as entertainment during that time period. It’s been said since they spent so much time indoors telling ghost stories, Shelley conjured up an idea and Frankenstein was born.
I hope you enjoyed your little adventure down the rabbit hole and maybe learned something new! Happy Friday the 13th!
And fingers crossed we don’t have a year without summer because I think that will drive us all a little mad…
Are you watching the Boston Marathon on Monday?