An Explosion Heard Around the World: The Big Bang at Krakatoa

For years, scientists have recorded volcanic eruptions. One such explosion, the biggest in recorded history, is known as “The Big Bang at Krakatoa.”

In between the larger Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra lies the Krakatoa islands. Covered in greenery and volcanic cones, these islands span about five and a half miles. Not far from Krakatoa lie smaller islands Danan and Perboewetan. These lands formed due to volcanic eruptions that occurred almost one million years ago.

On August 26, 1883, the giant volcano on Krakatoa began to erupt. The following morning, four explosions occurred. The noise of the explosions awoke Australians over 2,000 miles away. Across the Indian Ocean, people 3,000 miles away on Rodriguez Island also heard the astounding noise.

Volcanic activity continued at Krakatoa for over 33 hours after the first explosion. When it finally ended, the northern half of Krakatoa was destroyed and Danan and Perboewetan had disappeared altogether. The lethal eruption killed 36,000 people. It caused massive tsunamis over 125 feet high that swept away 300 towns and villages. The eruption also scattered chunks of volcanic rock across 930 miles of ocean: this caused shipping hazards for many months.

Over the next 40 years, Krakatoa struggled to survive in the face of periodic roars from its great volcano.

[Source: The World’s Greatest Disasters ]