BALI'S BATUR GEOPARK AND GEOTOURISM
- Directly informing people about our earth's geodiversity and its linkage with natural and cultural heritage;
- Creating awareness of geological hazards and climate change over the millennia;
- Protecting geodiversity and biodiversity whilst acknowledging the need for local people and communities to utilise local natural resources; and
- Stimulating and broadening local nature-based tourism that i) preserves the environment, ii) respects cultural traditions and iii) benefits the economic and social well-being of local people and their communities.
Bali's Batur Volcano and its Scenic Caldera and Lake
Volcanism along Indonesia's chain of volcanic islands including Bali is caused by rising magma from the subduction in a deep oceanic trench of the Indo Australian tectonic plate beneath the Asian plate (about 300km south of the volcanic island of Bali).
The Batur caldera is one of the most scenic on earth. It has important religious and cultural significance for the people of Bali and the local people from the Bangli and Gianyar Regencies who, from the 9th century, have lived on and cultivated its rich agricultural soils, farmed its fish from Lake Batur and used its volcanic rocks for housing, roads, temples and stone carving.
Both Mt. Batur and its larger sister volcano Mt Agung are stratovolcanoes and considered 'armed and dangerous'. In 1963 Mt Agung, Bali's highest mountain, erupted violently after more than a century of dormancy killing approximately 1600 people.
Mt. Batur has erupted 24 times since 1804, the last eruption in 2000 when ash rose 300m from the summit. Old villages are known to be entombed beneath its lava fields. Fresh lava from a 1968 eruption occurs in the southern end of the caldera overlooked by the town of Kintamani, perched on the western rim of the caldera. The Bali Geopark Landcruiser Tour descends by 4WD vehicle into the caldera and through the maze of lava and ash fields with their spectatular formations.
The lava fields are inhabited by local Bangli villagers who cultivate the caldera's rich soils, act as guides through the lava maze and harvest volcanic rocks (outside the Geopark area) for use as building materials.
Without its volcanoes, there is no Bali.
Volcanism, rainfall and subsequent weathering of lava and ash to soil has formed Bali's rich agricultural soils and lush rainforests with their steeply incised valleys.The soils and rainfall support Bali's famous rice fields with their complex and highly productive irrigation system 'subak' which originates from the 9th century. Subak technology and rich fertile soils enabled Bali's cultural and religious traditions to develop - a type of soft volcanic ash stone called 'paras', which weathers and darkens quickly, has been quarried for centuries for carving the ornate stone that adorns the thousands of Hindu temples and shrines across Bali.