Krakatau 1883 Eruption:
The Story Told by the Deposits

Charles W. Mandeville

[March 16, 2007]


Online Notes
A Synopsis of the Krakatau 1883 Eruption:
The Story Told by The Deposits

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The 1883 eruption of Krakatau volcano in the Sunda Straits of Indonesia, on August 26 to 27th , 1883 was the second largest explosive eruption of historic time. Approximately 13.6 km3 of magma was erupted during this event, mostly in the form of voluminous pyroclastic flows. Fatalities from this eruption from the direct effects of tephra fallout, and the indirect effects of volcanogenic tsunamis totaled over 36,000.  Despite the notoriety of the 1883  eruption, few studies of its deposits have been undertaken.


Recent research has documented that over 78% of the erupted material generated during this event was deposited on the seafloor surrounding the volcano. Consequently, an accurate reconstruction of the eruption process and evolution of the event would be incomplete without a thorough study of the submarine pyroclastic deposits and a thorough comparison of these to their land-based counterparts.

Study of submarine samples recovered in SCUBA cores has now documented that lethal tsunamis from this eruption were generated from pyroclastic flows entering the shallow sea around the volcano.  More importantly, these deposits from Krakatau volcano demonstrate the potential hazard of volcanogenic tsunamis in areas where explosively erupting volcanoes are surrounded by shallow seas.






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