Krakatoa: The Loudest Sound Heard Round the World
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.