Krakatoa

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  • Topic: Krakatoa, Volcano, Sunda Strait
  • Pages : 10 (3109 words )
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  • Published : November 19, 2006
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Origin and spelling of the name

The earliest mention of the island in the Western world was on a map by Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer, who labelled the island "Pulo Carcata." ("Pulo" is a form of pulau, the Indonesian word for "island".) There are two generally accepted spellings, Krakatoa and Krakatau. While Krakatoa is more common in the English-speaking world, Krakatau (or Krakatao in an older Portuguese based spelling) tends to be favored by Indonesians. The origin of the spelling Krakatoa is unclear, but may have been the result of a typographical error made in a British source reporting on the massive eruption of 1883.

Theories as to the origin of the Indonesian name Krakatau include:

* Onomatopoeia, imitating the noise made by white parrots that used to inhabit the island. * From Sanskrit karka or karkata or karkataka, meaning "lobster" or "crab". * From Malay kelakatu, meaning "white-winged ant".

There is a popular story that Krakatau was the result of a linguistic error. According to legend, "Krakatau" was adopted when a visiting ship's captain asked a local inhabitant the island's name, and the latter replied "Kaga tau" — a Jakartan/Betawinese slang phrase meaning "I don't know". This story is largely discounted; it closely resembles famous linguistic myths about the origin of the word kangaroo and the name of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The name is spelled Karata on a map drawn before 1708. [citation needed]

[edit] Before 1883

[edit] Geography
The Sunda Strait
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The Sunda Strait

Before the 1883 eruption, Krakatoa consisted of three main islands: Lang ('Long', now called Rakata Kecil or Panjang) and Verlaten ('Forsaken' or 'Deserted', now Sertung), which were edge remnants of a previous very large caldera-forming eruption; and Krakatoa itself, an island 9 km long by 5 km wide. Also there was a tree-covered islet near Lang named Poolsche Hoed ('Polish Hat', apparently because it looked like one from the sea), and several small rocks or banks between Krakatoa and Verlaten. There were three volcanic cones on Krakatoa: running South to North they were: Rakata (823 m), Danan (445 m), and Perboewatan (also spelled Perbuatan) (122 m). (Danan may have been a twin volcano). Krakatoa is directly above the subduction zone of the Eurasian Plate and Indo-Australian Plate, where the plate boundaries undertake a sharp change of direction, possibly resulting in an unusually weak crust in the region.

[edit] 416 AD event

The Javanese Book of Kings (Pustaka Raja) records that in the year 338 Saka (416 AD) "A thundering sound was heard from the mountain Batuwara ... a similar noise from Kapi ... The whole world was greatly shaken and violent thundering, accompanied by heavy rain and storms took place, but not only did not this heavy rain extinguish the eruption of the fire of the mountain Kapi, but augmented the fire; the noise was fearful, at last the mountain Kapi with a tremendous roar burst into pieces and sank into the deepest of the earth. The water of the sea rose and inundated the land, the country to the east of the mountain Batuwara, to the mountain Raja Basa, was inundated by the sea; the inhabitants of the northern part of the Sunda country to the mountain Raja Basa were drowned and swept away with all property[3] ... The water subsided but the land on which Kapi stood became sea, and Java and Sumatra were divided into two parts." There is no geological evidence of a Krakatoa eruption of this size around that time; it may describe loss of land that previously joined Java to Sumatra across what is now the narrow east end of the Sunda Strait; or it may be a mistaken date, referring to an eruption in 535 AD, also referred to in the Javanese Book of Kings, and for which there is geological and some corroborating historical evidence.

[edit] 535 AD event

David Keys and others have postulated that the violent eruption of Krakatoa in 535 may have been responsible for the global...
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