The Krakatoa Eruption

Overview

In the years before the 1883 eruption, seismic activity around the volcano was intense, with earthquakes felt as far away as Australia. On May 20, 1883, the three volcanic peaks on the isle of Krakatau, Indonesia, began to erupt. Over the next 2 months, crews on commercial vessels and sightseers on chartered ships would witness spectacular displays, all of which were associated with explosive noises and churning clouds of black to incandescent ash and pumice. However, on August 27, the island exploded and sank beneath the waves, sending out tsunamis and pyroclastic flows that devastated the surrounding villages. In 1927 a new island, Anak Krakatau, or "Child of Krakatoa", emerged from the caldera formed in 1883 and is the current location of eruptive activity.
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Death toll

The official number of dead calculated by Dutch authorities was 36,417, ninety percent of which were killed by the tsunamis. The explosion measured 6 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, with the highest ranking being 8. The Island was part of the Ring of Fire, a chain of volcanoes around the pacific plate.
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Accounts of the Survivors

"Had I been in my right mind, I would have understood what a dangerous thing it was to . . . plunge into the hellish darkness . . . I ran up against . . . branches and did not even think of avoiding them. I entangled myself more and more . . . My hair got caught up . . . I noticed for the first time that [my] skin was hanging off everywhere, thick and moist from the ash stuck to it. Thinking it must be dirty, I wanted to pull bits of skin off, but that was still more painful . . . I did not know I had been burnt." -- From A. Scarth.


"Thousands of corpses of human beings and also carcasses of animals still await burial, and make their presence apparent by the indescribable stench. They lie in knots and entangled masses impossible to unravel, and often jammed along with coconut stems among all that had served these thousands as dwellings, furniture, farming implements, and adornments for houses and compounds." -- From Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders.


Found on the Website: How Volcanoes Work