Krakatoa, also called Krakatau, is a volcanic island that made waves worldwide. It was one of the most powerful and devastating eruptions in modern history, killing 36,417 people.
Signs of an eruption at Krakatoa began on May 20th, 1883, clouds of ashes almost reached seven miles above the island. It wasn’t until the afternoon of August 26th, 1883, that the unsettled island near Indonesia started to erupt intensely, releasing ash clouds at least 22 miles above the volcano, which had been asleep for 200 years. Krakatau experienced four huge explosions during four hours. The blasts were so powerful that they could be heard as far as 3,000 miles away, and continued for the following three months. The force of the last blast was 10,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb unleashed on Hiroshima. Shockwaves made by the eruption were felt across the world.
Each eruption on Krakatau caused intense tsunamis. When the volcano collapsed into the ocean, it caused a tsunami that was approximately 120 feet tall. It was so powerful that it tossed 600 tons of coral onto the shore, carried a ship one mile inland, killed 28 crewmen, and completely destroyed 165 villages nearby. Of the 36,417 people that died, 90 percent were killed by tsunamis. The remaining 10 percent died of falling debris called tephra, and pyroclastic flows, hot and fast-moving masses of volcanic gas and ash.
The final eruption blew the island apart; only one-third of the island survived. The volcano released 11 cubic miles of ash into the atmosphere. The sun in the region was blocked for three days and the cloud of ash spread 275 miles. All the volcanic debris from Krakatau’s eruption created fiery-red sunsets throughout the world and lasted for three years. The debris in the atmosphere was so immense that it filtered the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s surface, making global temperatures drop approximately 2.16 degrees Fahrenheit the following year. The temperatures didn’t stabilize until 1888.
In December 1927, a new volcano was discovered emerging from the caldera of the last volcano. It was named Anak Krakatau, child of Krakatau. It is still active today, and hopefully, it does not cause devastation like its namesake.