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Krakatoa

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Krakatoa (Indonesian name: Krakatau) is a volcano on the Indonesian island of Rakata[?] in the Sunda Strait. It erupted repeatedly, massively and with disastrous consequences on August 26, 1883.

The eruptions occurred at 5:30 am, 6:42 am, 8:20 am and 10:02 am local time. The lattermost was the loudest and most destructive one, and could be heard from locations in Australia 2200 miles away.

They were the most severe volcanic explosions on Earth in modern times (VEI of 6, equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT). Sound waves from the explosions travelled seven times around the world. The sky was darkened for days afterwards. The island of Rakata itself largely ceased to exist, and its surrounding ocean floor was drastically altered. Two nearby islands, Verlaten and Lang, had their land masses increased. Volcanic ash continues to be a significant part of the geological composition of these islands.

There had been volcanic and seismic activity present around the island earlier that year, when an earthquake occurred. On May 20, 1883, the hitherto inert volcano erupted. By August 11, 1883, three vents were regularly erupting on the volcano. Tides continued to be unusually high, and phenonema such as windows suddenly shattering were commonplace. Ships at anchor were sometimes tied down with chains.

About 36,000 people (some sources say 36,417) were killed by the resultant tsunami waves generated. Amongst the settlements that were wiped out were Telok Batong[?] in Sumatra, and Sirik[?] and Semarang[?] in Java. Bodies of victims could be found floating in the ocean for weeks after the event. An additional 1000 or so people also died from volcanic fumes and ashes.

It has been suggested that an eruption of Krakatoa may have been responsible for the climate changes of 535-536.

Since the 1883 eruption, a new island volcano, called Anak Krakatau ("Child of Krakatoa"), has formed in the caldera. Of considerable interest to volcanologists, this has been the subject of extensive study since 1960.

A short 1933 movie about the volcano won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Novelty for its producer Joe Rock[?].

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