A volcanic eruption that kills 90,000 people and casts a shadow around the globe tends to leave an impression. That's why hundreds of Indonesian farmers fled their villages this month when the legendary Mount Tambora began rumbling, the AP reports. Well-versed in stories of its 1815 eruption, which spewed about 400 million tons of sulfuric gases and left a crater 7 miles wide, the villagers refused to come back for days. "It was like a horror story, growing up," says one. "A dragon sleeping inside the crater, that's what we thought."
For most of us, Tambora's historic eruption has been overshadowed by Krakatoa's 1883 blast—because that one was reported worldwide by way of the newly designed telegraph. But modern researchers have found evidence of Tambora's shocking sulfur concentration in Greenland and ruinous effect on French wine crops. Experts don't see Tambora erupting so violently for a long time, but that won't relieve Indonesian farmers—even though most returned home today. "There was no life here," says one of the historic blast. "I know that from my parents."