By Bill Konstant, IRF Program Officer
August 27, 1883. It’s been called “the day the world exploded.” One hundred and thirty years ago this month, the volcanic island of Krakatau (Krakatoa) blew its top. The smoking mountain had given several days warning to the human inhabitants of Java and Sumatra, the closest large islands, but no one could have imagined the intensity of the eruption and the devastation that followed.
Several cubic miles of rock and ash – more than half the island – rocketed skyward. The explosion released over 10,000 times the energy of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and was an order of magnitude more powerful than the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Its sound carried as far as India and Australia. More than 150 villages and towns were destroyed, with nearly 40,000 people losing their lives. Tsunamis greater than 100 feet high roared over coastal habitats…
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