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Krakatoa: The Loudest Sound Heard Round the World

Updated on October 22, 2011

Krakatoa is a volcanic island in Indonesia, situated between the islands of Java and Sumatra. The volcano on Krakatoa exploded in 1883, killing around 40,000 people, and covering the WORLD with ash.

The Krakatoa volcanic explosion was the loudest sound ever heard in recorded history. It was heard almost 3,000 miles (approximately 4,828 kilometers) away.

The shock wave, the tsunami, also went around the world. Above you'll see a map of the initial wave. More people died from the effects of the tsunami created by the enormous shock than from the volcanic explosion itself. It inundated the Indonesian islands and many coastal cities across the world were affected.

The gigantic explosions of the Krakatoa volcano was equivalent to about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the bomb that devasted Hiroshima, Japan, during WWII, and 50 times the devastation of the TSAR bomb, the largest nuclear device ever actually detonated.

This eruption, on August 26 and 27, 1883 ejected 5 cubic MILES of rock (molten rock, lava), ash and pumice. Five cubic miles is roughly equivalent to 8 cubic kilometers of materials, straight into the air, fifty miles up into the air! The eruption destroyed about two-thirds of the island of Krakatoa.

Krakatoa is a peaceful island today. It's power seems to be spent. It is sleeping, for the moment. It is still an active volcano, though, as you can see from the video below.

Indonesia has well over 100 active volcanoes, and is the most volcanically active of any nation in the world.

In February, 1780, the people on Krakatoa were described as "friendly" by the crews of HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery as they made their way home from Hawaii, after Captain James Cook's death. They found fresh water on the island. It was an island paradise.

Beginning in mid June of 1883, the volcano on Krakatoa began emitting huge clouds of smoke and ash, and there were a series of lesser eruptions leading up to the great cataclysm of August 26-27, 1883.

The final explosion continued to register on barographs around the world five days after the explosion. That final shock wave went around the world seven times! Ash was propelled from the summit to a height of 50 miles (80 kilometers, approximately). Anyone within 10 miles of that explosion went deaf from the sound of it.

The combined effects of lava flows and tsunamis had terrible effects on that region. Though officially about 40, 000 people were listed as dead, many, many more people were missing. Large congregations of human bodies went floating across the Indian ocean on rifts of pumice and washed up on the east coast of Africa up to one year later.

Temperatures fell, GLOBALLY, due to the sun being blocked by the ash. Weather patterns were chaotic for years and temperatures didn't return to normal until about 1888.

My mother, who is 90 years old on April 9th this year, says she remembers our grandfather telling about people trying to knock the snow off the wheat by dragging ropes across the tops of the wheat, to save the harvest. This is in upstate New York, many, many miles away. Snow, in August!

She says that our grandfather said, the people who tried to save the wheat by knocking the snow off it, had no harvest whatever. The people who let the matter go and let nature take its course, had a harvest. A poor one, true, but some is better than none at all.

Krakatoa is still active. Below, you'll find a YouTube video of an eruption in November 2010.


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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 3 years ago from Upstate New York


    • profile image

      Jack be Nimble 3 years ago

      This event also consequencially caused every avian species on earth to simultaneously poop and take flight, including the flightless. ;)

    • profile image

      Deefinator 6 years ago

      I wish I lived when it happened right here in filthedelfia Pennsylvania when it was august of 1883. Yo it would have been the biggest WTF moment of my life... Hearing a large boom while smoking my shitty ass legal 188os weed in my corn cob pipe. Then a small wave hits a cleaans the philthy as phuc so called the city of brotherly love ( bs these black so called men are killing each other by the dozens weekly in this city aka pimple on earths rear). I love mother little natures little comebacks with these natural disasters, and how human nature kills each other it's just comes to tell us that we take too much for granite and time itself should be treated as sacred as the sun itself. It needs to decontaminate towards all of these people who gives all human kind a bad name the reason for all these boundaries and angry people. Ps I think the 1883 Krakatoa explosion became a catalyst and set the course of events that eventually turned onto HEAVY EPHEN METAL!! Nameen y'all

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Well-done! This hub is very informative, and the video is interesting. Rated up and useful. :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Oh, yes, I agree, Mother Nature is awe-inspiring, in all her moods. I'm glad you liked this hub.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Mother Nature is amazing. Thanks for an informative hub!

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, syzygy, and Jen, for your comments. Glad you liked it!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

      WOW! The world was covered with ash? Great information thanks for the pics and the video. :)

    • syzygyastro profile image

      William J. Prest 6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Good hub; voted it up and linked it to mine on super volcanoes.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you, sofs, scarytaff and Tony, for your very kind and appreciative comments. It's a bit of history that fascinates me. One of the most globally devastating natural disasters in recorded history. It's funny how we recover, move on, forget it. The reason I heard about is because of my aged mother, one day when we got to talking. She mentioned my paternal grandfather, who came to live with us in his old age, whom I've never met--he died before I was born. He told her about the people in the fields, holding long ropes between two people at the level of the tops of the wheat, trying to knock the snow off the wheat, in late August. THAT fascinated me--I had to look into this further!

    • Tony L Smith profile image

      Tony L Smith 6 years ago from Macon

      nicely done. Amazing event, it was my first time hearing of it also. I reakon the youtube video would have to to muliplied about 100 times to show the effect this Krakatoa volcano had

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

      Another brilliant one, No.7 Keep them coming.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      Great Information, so beautifully presented. Thank you for sharing, this is the first time I have heard of Krakatoa,thank you for rescuing me from my ignorance. :)

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      This is a very interesting story.Thanks for sharing it.