Tag Archives: Krakatoa

REMEMBERING HISTORY: KRAKATOA ERUPTION CAUSES MASSIVE DEATHS

The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society (London, Trubner & Co., 1888)
Public Domain

On 20 May 1883, Krakatau(Krakatoa)–a small volcanic island west of Sumatra in Indonesia–came alive with an eruption noticed by a passing German warship. Other eruptions would be noticed by commercial liners and those living on nearby islands for the next two months. Then on 26 Aug an enormous blast took place that destroyed nearly two-thirds of the island. Pyroclastic flows and huge tsunamis would sweep over nearby islands and coastlines. But the worst came the following morning, At 05:30 am four eruptions would took place with the resulting sound heard over 3,000 miles away. Ash was propelled fifty miles into the air and would circulate around the globe creating colorful sunsets but also lowering temperatures worldwide by several degrees.

36,000 deaths resulted from the eruption and 31,000 were from the tsunamis created when much of the island fell into the water. The highest waves were 120 feet high when they washed over neighboring islands stripping them of people and vegetation. Pyroclastic flows that stretched as far as 40 miles claimed about 4,500.

The Krakatau eruption of 1883 is considered one of the most violent volcanic activities in modern times and even recorded history. However volcanic activity continues in that area. In 1927, a submarine lava dome was detected in the area that had been destroyed by the eruption in 1883. A new island volcano began to emerge spewing ash. Other islands also started appearing as well but eroded away by the sea. Ultimately a fourth one appeared in August 1930 and was able to last. It was named Anak Krakatau and continues to grow taller each year. It is an active volcano and seemed similar to Stromboli in its eruptions. However more recent eruptions have resulted in volcanologists to warning people to keep a safe distance away. And more ominous is that a large lava dome is growing in its crater. Signs point to one day a very explosive event occurring at this volcano.

Krakatoa Eruption In 1883 Kills Thousands and Heard 3,000 Miles Away

The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society (London, Trubner & Co., 1888) Public Domain
The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society (London, Trubner & Co., 1888)
Public Domain

On 20 May 1883, Krakatau(Krakatoa)–a small volcanic island west of Sumatra in Indonesia–came alive with an eruption noticed by a passing German warship. Other eruptions would be noticed by commercial liners and those living on nearby islands for the next two months. Then on 26 Aug an enormous blast took place that destroyed nearly two-thirds of the island. Pyroclastic flows and huge tsunamis would sweep over nearby islands and coastlines. But the worst came the following morning, 27 Aug, at 05:30. Four eruptions would took place with the resulting sound heard over 3,000 miles away. Ash was propelled fifty miles into the air and would circulate around the globe creating colorful sunsets but also lowering temperatures worldwide by several degrees.

36,000 deaths resulted from the eruption and 31,000 were from the tsunamis created when much of the island fell into the water. The highest waves were 120 feet high when they washed over neighboring islands stripping them of people and vegetation. Pyroclastic flows that stretched as far as 40 miles claimed about 4,500.

The Krakatau eruption of 1883 is considered one of the most violent volcanic activities in modern times and even recorded history. However volcanic activity continues in that area. In 1927, a submarine lava dome was detected in the area that had been destroyed by the eruption in 1883. A new island volcano began to emerge spewing ash. Other islands also started appearing as well but eroded away by the sea. Ultimately a fourth one appeared in August 1930 and was able to last. It was named Anak Krakatau and continues to grow taller each year. It is an active volcano and seemed similar to Stromboli in its eruptions. However more recent eruptions have resulted in volcanologists to warning people to keep a safe distance away. And more ominous is that a large lava dome is growing in its crater. Signs point to one day a very explosive event occurring at this volcano.


Titanic Musings

The Ship That Might Be Built
The most interesting news in a while is that Titanic II is possibly back on again. A spokesman for Clive Palmer’s Blue Star Line told a newspaper that it will be built by late 2018. This follows a string of reports over the year that it was not on. Palmer has had problems getting Chinese investors, the shipyard in China appears reluctant, but worse is his spat with the Chinese government that would doom it completely. The recent news comes from a Middle Eastern news agency. That would suggest that perhaps Palmer is rounding up investors there and that it could be built there. China is already building its own Titanic replica for a theme park so they might not be interested in building one for Palmer. Will it be built? Many doubt it will and until actual construction begins all we have are words floating around the air.

Krakatoa, Again
The famous Krakatoa eruption occurred 132 years ago and still fascinates those who study volcanoes. What made this eruption remarkable were a couple of things. It was the first eruption that got instant media attention. Thanks to underwater telegraph cables, the world learned about the devastating eruptions of 26-27 Aug 1883 within hours. People forget that before there was an internet and telephones were still a marvel, it was the telegraph that alerted people to news and other things. Underwater cables, which used a particular rubber from Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) to protect them, made telegraph transmission faster than the old overland route that took a long while. The eruption pushed forward the science of volcanoes and their effects. It confirmed that small bits of volcanic matter thrust into the atmosphere (something that happened when Tambora erupted in 1815 causing the “Year Without A Summer” in the west) would hang around for a long time causing global effects. The massive pressure of the islands eruption was measured on barometers nearby and far, far away. The huge tsunami was also measured quite a distance away as well (though greatly reduced in strength in many cases). Krakatoa spurred more investigation into understanding how our world works geologically speaking. It came at a terrible price with over 36,000 dead.

Baseball Movie: The Natural(1984)
Bernard Malmud’s antihero story was transformed into a more positive story about its central character Roy Hobbs. The movie sought to create a wonderful mythological story with elements of Greek and Arthurian elements. When it was first released, it got mixed reviews from critics and baseball fans. I had a chance to view a new edition of the movie that has put back the scenes deleted from the theatrical run. This director’s edition adds a lot more depth to the movie (it has a lot more background information about Hobb’s). And the extras include interviews about the movie, the book it is based on, and other information most will like. It works. I thoroughly enjoyed this edition and cheered when Hobb’s hits the lights at the end of the movie.


Catching Up On Some History: Vesuvius (79 ) and Krakatau (1883)

Vesuvius from Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby(1734–1797) Image:Public Domain
Vesuvius from Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby(1734–1797)
Public Domain

1. Vesuvius (79)
It was just around noon on 24 August 79 AD when Mt. Vesuvius erupted with a massive 10 mile mushroom cloud sent into the stratosphere. Ash and pumice would rain down on the area for over twelve hours. People who did not flee would face something much worse when a pyroclastic flow would sweep down killing everyone in its path. The choking cloud suffocated everyone even rescuers.

The Bay of Naples where Mt. Vesuvius is located was known for trade and luxury. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were near the mountain and had a fairly high standard of living. There was even a small resort town named Stabiae. The mountain was not seen as a problem as no major eruption had occurred in Roman history. Tremors had already been felt before that terrible day as excavations indicate they were repairing streets and underground plumbing. However they had no idea the tremors were connected with the nearby mountain.

Pliny The Younger, staying west across the Bay of Naples, recorded what he saw in two letters he sent to Tacitus. Sadly his uncle, Pliny the Elder, would perish when he went over in his boats to Stabiae. Pliny wrote the eruption lasted eighteen hours with Pompeii buried under 14-17 feet of ash and pumice. Herculaneum was buried under 60 feet of mud and volcanic material. Except for some who returned to reclaim what they had lost, the entire area was left buried and abandoned.

Significant excavations beginning in 1927 on have revealed much of what life must have been like before the destruction. More somber were the finding of some 2,000 bodies. Volcanic ash hardened and preserved the outlines of their bodies. Once the flesh had gone, the outline remained but filled in with plaster revealed those final moments of their lives. And it was not pleasant at all.

Bay of Naples today with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. The densely populated city of Naples lies nearby. Public Domain
Bay of Naples today with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. The densely populated city of Naples lies nearby.
Public Domain

Vesuvius is still an active volcano. Its last major eruption was in March 1944 and destroyed several small villages with lava. The eruption was seen from Naples and damaged (thanks to hot ash and other things)or destroyed up to 88 B-25 medium bombers based in Terzigno, Italy. The volcano is kept under constant watch to prevent anything on the scale of the eruption of 79 AD to the people who live under its shadow.

The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society (London, Trubner & Co., 1888) Public Domain
The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society (London, Trubner & Co., 1888)
Public Domain

2. Krakatau (Krakatoa) 1883
On 20 May 1883, Krakatau–a small volcanic island west of Sumatra in Indonesia–came alive with an eruption noticed by a passing German warship. Other eruptions would be noticed by commercial liners and those living on nearby islands for the next two months. Then on 26 Aug an enormous blast took place that destroyed nearly two-thirds of the island. Pyroclastic flows and huge tsunamis would sweep over nearby islands and coastlines. But the worst came the following morning, 27 Aug, at 05:30. Four eruptions would took place with the resulting sound heard over 3,000 miles away. Ash was propelled fifty miles into the air and would circulate around the globe creating colorful sunsets but also lowering temperatures worldwide by several degrees.

36,000 deaths resulted from the eruption and 31,000 were from the tsunamis created when much of the island fell into the water. The highest waves were 120 feet high when they washed over neighboring islands stripping them of people and vegetation. Pyroclastic flows that stretched as far as 40 miles claimed about 4,500.

The Krakatau eruption of 1883 is considered one of the most violent volcanic activities in modern times and even recorded history. However volcanic activity continues in that area. In 1927, a submarine lava dome was detected in the area that had been destroyed by the eruption in 1883. A new island volcano began to emerge spewing ash. Other islands also started appearing as well but eroded away by the sea. Ultimately a fourth one appeared in August 1930 and was able to last. It was named Anak Krakatau and continues to grow taller each year. It is an active volcano and seemed similar to Stromboli in its eruptions. However more recent eruptions have resulted in volcanologists to warning people to keep a safe distance away. And more ominous is that a large lava dome is growing in its crater. Signs point to one day a very explosive event occurring at this volcano.