One hundred twenty-two years ago, one of the most destructive powers of Nature was felt around the globe. This power was from the explosion of Krakatoa, an island volcano that lies in the Sunda Strait. The scientists of the time struggled to comprehend the destruction that resulted from this great explosion. The results from the examination of the destruction established a landmark in learning about volcanoes.
But let us back up a bit and learn exactly what happened before the Great Explosion happened.
In 416 A.D. Ancient Krakatoa destroyed itself in a massive eruption. Over the next 1200 years, minor eruptions rebuilt the volcano. These small eruptions helped release the pressure created by the enormous geological forces beneath the island. But over time, a plug of viscous magma formed in Krakatoa's throat preventing the gasses and magma from escaping to the surface. This in turn caused the eruptions to cease, and by 1883 Krakatoa was a time bomb just waiting to explode.
In Ketimbang, in March 1883, six months prior to the great explosion, there were subtle warning signs that were undetectable to humans. In Jakarta, the East Indies capital, there was a young volcanologist by the name of Sherman and who worked under Dr. Vanderstock, one of the foremost scientists at the time. Sherman went to Vanderstock wanting to relate studies on animal behavior prior to changes in the earth, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, and wanting to use those studies to help predict the weather. Vanderstock said, "That is hardly science." Sherman replied with, "Sure, it is everything is science."
In Ketimbang, in May 1883, four months prior to the great explosion, tremors were felt. On May 9th, just before midnight, a large tremor hit. It was the first large warning sign that Krakatoa was waking up. On May 20th, there was a huge explosion at 10:30AM. The intense pressure that had been building was finally released. This explosion was felt 83 miles away in...
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