Sumatra:: Lake Toba

Indonesia, Sumatra. Toba. View of the Toba Lake from the mainland, Parapat side looking north-west. Samosir to the left, this island was created around 30-75.000 years ago. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Indonesia, Sumatra. Toba. View of the Toba Lake from the mainland, Parapat side looking north-west. Samosir to the left, this island was created around 30-75.000 years ago. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Lake Toba (or Danau Toba in Indonesian) is a lake and former supervolcano, 100 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide, and 505 metres at its deepest point. Toba is located in the middle of the northern part of Sumatra with a surface elevation of about 900 metres. It is the largest volcanic lake in the world. In addition it is the site of a supervolcanic eruption that occurred 69,000-77,000 years ago, a massive climate-changing event. This eruption is believed to have been the largest anywhere on Earth in the last 25 million years. According to the Toba catastrophe theory to which some anthropologists and archeologists subscribe, it had global consequences, killing most humans then alive and creating a population bottleneck in Central Eastern Africa and India that affected the genetic inheritance of all humans today.

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Sumatra:: Batak identity

Indonesia, Sumatra. Samosir. Simanindo on the northern tip of Samosir is the cultural center of Samosir, with a museum. Batak dance performance. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Indonesia, Sumatra. Samosir. Simanindo on the northern tip of Samosir is the cultural center of Samosir, with a museum. Batak dance performance. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The term Batak designates any one of several groups inhabiting the interior of Sumatera Utara Province south of Aceh: Angkola, Karo, Mandailing, Pakpak, Simelungen, Toba, and others. The Batak number around 3 million. Culturally, they lack the complex etiquette and social hierarchy of the Hinduized peoples of Indonesia.

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