The famous eruption of Krakatau on August 26,
1883 sent up a plume of ash and pumice 26 kilometers high and 6,000
kilometers wide, and the explosion could be heard from Myanmar to Australia. The
huge tidal waves created by the explosion destroyed 165 villages in Sumatra and
Java, killing more than 36,000 people.
original caldera collapsed in on itself, leaving three islands remaining of its
rim : Sertung, Panjang and Rakata. In 1928, Anak Krakatau -"child of Krakatau -
appeared. This still active daughter cone continues to eject tephra and lava,
growing at the rate of 4 meters each year, now having reached 240 meters.
A rocky, wide skirt of black sand rings the
island. Being so new, Anak Krakatau has provided a perfect laboratory for
scientists studying early colonization of islands by plant and animal life. So
far, 120 species of plants have found heir way to the little island. The
shoreline is dominated by feathery casuarinas and a few tough succulents
have found a niche further up the slope.
It takes just 20 minutes to climb the 150 or
so meters to the rim of the new crater. Inside, the steaming cone is surrounded
by a lunar landscape of fumaroles. Looking outward, one can see the surrounding
island remains of the one-massive original Krakatau. The descent is easy, and is
best finished with a refreshing swim along the black sand beach.
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