1883 Eruption of Krakatoa
The best known eruption of Krakatoa culminated in a series of massive explosions on August 26–27, 1883, which was among the most violent volcanic events in modern and recorded history.
With a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6, the eruption was equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT (840 PJ)—about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the Little Boy bomb (13 to 16 kT) that devastated Hiroshima, Japan during World War II and four times the yield of the Tsar Bomba (50 MT), the largest nuclear device ever detonated.
The 1883 eruption ejected approximately 21 cubic kilometres (5.0 cu mi) of rock, ash, and pumice.
The cataclysmic explosion was distinctly heard as far away as Perth in Western Australia, about 1,930 miles (3,110 km) away, and the island of Rodrigues near Mauritius, about 3,000 miles (5,000 km) away.
Near Krakatau, according to official records, 165 villages and towns were destroyed and 132 seriously damaged, at least 36,417 (official toll) people died, and many thousands were injured by the eruption, mostly from the tsunamis that followed the explosion. The eruption destroyed two-thirds of the island of Krakatoa.
A series of cataclysmic explosions began at mid-day on August 26, and ended on August 27 with a stupendous paroxysmal eruption. On this day, the northern two-thirds of the island collapsed beneath the sea, generating a series of devasting pyroclastic flows and immense tsunamis that ravaged adjacent coastlines. The events that began on August 26 would mark the last 24 hours on earth for over 36,000 people, and the destruction of hundreds of coastal villages and towns.
The first sizable blast of Krakatoa occurred in the early afternoon on August 26th, 1883. The volcano spewed a 15-mile high column of dark volcanic gas and it generated a shockwave which was felt in the neighbouring islands of Sumatra and Java. More explosions occurred which increased in intensity and sent the gas plume higher into the atmosphere.
Volcanic material started to spill down the flanks of the volcano. The effects of the blasts generated a series of tsunamis which destroyed coastal villages on several islands in Indonesia.
As Monday morning wore on, Krakatoa's eruptions grew more intense. Beginning at 5:30 a.m., three terrible explosions shook the air, generating immense, powerful waves.
Then, at exactly 2 minutes past 10:00 a.m., the unthinkable happened. Krakatoa exploded into nothingness.
Think about the loudest sound you've ever heard. Multiply that sound by thousands. Then try, if you can, to imagine the loudest sound in the world — a sound so deafening, an explosion so terrifyingly loud, people more than 2,000 miles away recorded hearing it. Buildings 500 miles away shook.
The violent explosion blew away the volcano and most of the small island it sat upon. Six cubic miles of rock were blasted to smithereens. The eruption sent shock waves speeding around Earth at 700 miles an hour. Clouds of gas, fire, and smoke shot up about 20 miles into the sky.