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Great volcanic eruptions

An 1888 print showing the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 Volcanic eruptions, the most powerful explosions on Earth, are incredibly destructive. During the eruption of Krakatoa (today called Krakatau), a volcano situated between the islands of Sumatra and Java in Indonesia, in 1883, about 20 cubic kilometres (5 cubic miles) of rock—nearly the entire exploded mountain—was blasted high into the sky. The noise of the explosion, the greatest in modern times, was heard 5000 kilometres (3000 miles) away in India, China and Australia. Probably three times as much debris was ejected during the eruption of Santorini around 1450 BC.

Aerial view of the caldera of Mt Tambora, island of Sumbawa, Indonesia


Greater still was the eruption of Tambora, on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia in 1815, when about 160 cubic kilometres (40 cubic miles) was blasted away. Pulverized rock was hurled at least 50 kilometres (30 miles) high into the Earth’s atmosphere. About 92,000 people perished locally. Dust blankets drifted around the globe, shutting off the Sun’s rays and causing temperatures to drop worldwide. The year after the Tambora eruption, 1816, was known as "Eighteen hundred and froze to death" and "the year without a summer".


The explosion from the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa is said to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history.

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