Krakatoa, or Krakatau (Indonesian: Krakatau), is a volcanic island situated in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung. The name is also used for the surrounding island group comprising the remnants of a much larger island of three volcanic peaks which was obliterated in a cataclysmic 1883 eruption.

In 1927, a new island, Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatoa”, emerged from the caldera formed in 1883 and is the current location of eruptive activity.

The most notable eruptions of Krakatoa culminated in a series of massive explosions over August 26–27, 1883, which were among the most violent volcanic events in recorded history.

With an estimated 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 Tsar Bomba (50 Mt), the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated.

The 1883 eruption ejected approximately 25 km3 (6 cubic miles) of rock. The cataclysmic explosion was heard 3,600 km (2,200 mi) away in Alice Springs, as well as on the island of Rodrigues near Mauritius, 4,780 km (2,970 mi) to the west.

According to the official records of the Dutch East Indies colony, 165 villages and towns were destroyed near Krakatoa, and 132 were seriously damaged. At least 36,417 people died, and many more thousands were injured, mostly from the tsunamis that followed the explosion. The eruption destroyed two-thirds of the island of Krakatoa.

Eruptions in the area since 1927 have built a new island at the same location, named Anak Krakatau (which is Indonesian for “Child of Krakatoa”). Periodic eruptions have continued since, with recent eruptions in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. In late 2011, this island had a radius of roughly 2 kilometres (1.2 mi), and a highest point of about 324 metres (1,063 ft) above sea level, growing 5 metres (16 ft) each year. In 2017 the height of Anak Krakatau was reported as over 400 metres above sea level.

VIAPhotovolcanica/Richard Roscoe
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