Commemoration of the August 27, 1883 Krakatau Eruption

PUBLISHED,- This article comes from Awang Satyana, he is a geologist who graduated from Padjadjaran University, Bandung. Awang shared his writing about the eruption of Mount Krakatau 140 years ago. Let’s listen to the story together:

Today’s date is August 27th, but 140 years ago; Monday, August 27, 1883, at exactly 10:20 a.m. above the Earth, the loudest explosion sound humans have ever heard: the explosion of the Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Strait.

Writes Simon Winchester, a British geologist who later worked as a journalist and writer, that day the world seemed to explode in his famous book Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded 27th August 1883 (Winchester, 2003). 

The sound of the explosion was heard up to 4,600 km from the center of the eruption and could even be heard by 1/8 of the world’s population at that time. Winchester digging through old documents in Batavia, he found that before the eruption, there were a number of unusual natural phenomena. Animal behavior changes. The horses rage, the circus elephants get restless, the chickens don’t lay eggs, the monkeys and birds are no longer visible in the trees.

The researchers stated that Krakatau along with the Tambora explosion (1815) recorded the largest Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) value in modern history. The Guinness Book of Records records the Krakatoa explosion as the most violent explosion recorded in history. 

The Krakatoa explosion threw pumice and volcanic ash with a volume of 18 cubic kilometers. The volcanic ash burst reached a height of 80 km and disturbed the lighting and heating of the earth from the sun for some time. The hot stones that he threw instantly became pumice and fell everywhere between the islands of Java and Sumatra and then washed away by the sea to Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.

The explosion completely destroyed Mount Danan and Mount Perbuwatan, two mountains in the Krakatau complex and part of Mount Rakata whose half cone disappeared. This explosion created a caldera basin under the sea of the Sunda Strait, 7 km wide and 250 meters deep. 

Explosion material that was thrown and fell into the sea as well as part of the mountain body that collapsed and fell into the sea had caused a tsunami that rose as high as 40 meters destroying villages and everything on the coast and its surroundings. This is the eater of the most killed victims.

It was recorded that the number of victims who died reached 36,417 people from 295 villages around the Sunda Strait. The tsunami also hit Batavia and even Cilamaya in Karawang.

Simon Winchester (2003) writes that people in Batavia ran and climbed onto lampposts in the current Pasar Ikan area, North Jakarta. Previously, the gas-filled lamps were shattered by the sound waves of explosions. The tsunami waves generated even spread to the coast of Hawaii, the west coast of Central America and the Arabian Peninsula which is 7 thousand kilometers away. Tide gauges in these areas recorded it. 

On that day the world really seemed to explode, because the energy of the eruption of Krakatau on 26-27 August 1883 was equivalent to about 30,000 times the atomic bombs that were detonated on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

Krakatau is still there, its son who was born in 1927 is now active, erupting, and five years ago it collapsed part of its body, collapsed into the sea, and caused a tsunami to the coasts of Banten and Lampung which claimed around 450 lives. 

From Krakatau we learn that humans lived on an active earth. (Awang Satyana)