Boom! Volcano and Illinois statehood
Author to describe amazing impact of Tambora eruption July 23 at Old
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[July 22, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD - Mount Tambora
exploded in a mammoth eruption in 1815. Three years later and half a
world away, Illinois became a state. What’s the connection?
Author Gillen D’Arcy Wood will explain on Wednesday, July 23,
during a presentation at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site.
The free event begins at 6 p.m.
Wood’s new book, “Tambora: The Eruption that Changed the World,”
examines the impact of the largest volcanic eruption in recorded
history. It pulverized a mile and a half of mountain, creating
clouds of dust and gas that circled the globe. The result was an
Temperature changes led to a cholera outbreak in south Asia that
killed tens of thousands. Crops failed in Europe, causing famines.
In New England, 1816 was so cold they called it “year without a
The tragedies led many people to seek better luck in new places,
including Illinois. They could obtain land for relatively little
money. They could feed their cattle on abundant prairie grasses. The
new settlers helped make Illinois a state.
Wood, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
will describe the eruption’s impact and what is says about modern
ecological issues. He’ll also sign copies of the book, which is
getting strong reviews.
The Wall Street Journal calls it “by far the best on the subject.”
The Chicago Tribune praises it as “a compelling and haunting
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Gillen’s appearance is sponsored by the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency, the Sangamon County Historical Society and
the Illinois State Historical Society.
The Old State Capitol, administered by the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency, was Illinois’ fifth capitol building and
the first in Springfield. For more information, please visit
[Text received; CHRIS WILLIS,
ILLINOIS HISTORIC PRESERVATION AGENCY]