Salt Water Lake, Satonda Island – Nusa Tenggara

Two European scientists named Stephan Kempe and Josef Kazmierczak were researching Satonda Lake in 1984, 1989 and 1996. The result of their studies showed that Satonda Lake is a rare phenomenon because of the salty water with alkaline levels much higher than regular sea water. It was their combined opinion that Satonda basin coincided with the formation of craters which aged back more than 10,000 years. (Microbialites and Hydrochemistry of the Crater Lake of Satonda “, 1996)


Satonda Lake is located in Dompu regency, West Nusa Tenggara province. The location is on Satonda Island, 3 km from Sanggar Strait, not far from Nangamiro village, Sanggar sub-district. In the middle of the island with an area of 335 hectares and a height of 300 meters above sea level, there is 84 hectare wide and 86 meter deep saltwater area.  If other lakes have fresh water, Satonda lake is well known with salt water. Even, the lake contains more salt than the sea. Satonda Lake is also often used as an object of study by researchers outside the country because of its uniqueness.

Not many people have heard of Pulau Satonda, lying off the northern coast of the island of Sumbawa, close to Pulau Moyo.

Satonda island was formed by volcanic eruption on the sea floor at a depth of 1000 meters, and thrust upwards some millions of years ago. This charming island is located in the Flores Sea and is administratively part of the Nangamiro Village area, in the district of Dompu, in the province of West Nusa Tenggara.


The volcanic island of Satonda looks especially stunning when viewed from the top of Mount Tambora, which is located approximately 30 kilometers from Pulau Satonda. Many say it feels incomplete to climb Mount Tambora without paying a visit to Pulau Satonda as well. Reportedly Satonda is more popular among foreign tourists who make it a sort of stopping point when visiting the Komodo National Park from Bali or Lombok. They usually come to see and experience first-had the stunning white sand, and crystal clear waters for snorkeling.

In addition to the diverse tourist crowd, beginning with the exotic, natural volcanic mountains and beautiful salt water lake in the crater, Satonda also stores a wealth of coral reefs in the surrounding waters. Due to the wealth it has of natural sea coral reefs, Satonda was designated a Marine Nature Park (TWAL) in 1999 by the Ministry of Forestry.

n addition to being a tourist destination, the island volcano area of ​​2,600 hectares,  managed by the West Nusa Tenggara Natural Resources Conservation Center, is also frequented by scientists and researchers from both within and outside the country. One reason for this is because of the presence of the island that can not be separated from the phenomenal eruption of Mount Tambora which shook the world on 15 April 1815. The eruption of Mount Tambora rocked several parts of the world, spewing dust and polluting the Earth’s atmosphere for many years, even tearing the thin ozone layer. Its effects also resulted in climate change which led to eight weeks of nonstop rain in the UK which triggered a typhus epidemic that killed 65,000 people. The eruption of Mount Tambora also resulted in darkness which brought on crop failure in China, Europe, and Ireland and led to food shortages in these countries.


In connection with the effects of the eruption of Mount Tambora, the presence of a salt water lake in the Satonda crater is one of the unique and interesting effects to be studied. The Satonda crater resembles a figure eight with a diameter of 950 meters from the south and 400 meters from the east. This ancient lake was formed from the Satonda eruption thousands of years ago. The Satonda volcano which is supposedly older than Mount Tambora, grew along with several parasitic volcanoes scattered around Tambora. The lake that was formed in the crater was once filled with fresh water. It is said that the eruption of Mount Tambora resulted in a tsunami which filled the crater and turned it into the salt water lake that it is today

Satonda Lake is a beautiful and interesting lake worth visiting. In the lake you can enjoy a stretch of beach that has white sand on the other side of the island, do snorkeling, or enjoy the natural beauty of the sea with beautiful coral reef and marine life diversity. Besides that the area around the island is a nice fishing spot. You can even canoe in the lake. You can also camp on the island that is suitable for camping while exploring throughout the island. Besides that, there is also a belief that anyone who binds stone on tree’s twig surrounding the lake, they will have their wish come true. No wonder there are many stones tied on the tree’s twigs surrounding the island. 

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