In an old Dutch work there is an account of a violent eruption on Krakatau in 1680, since which time it appears to have been quiescent until May 21, 1883, when smoke was observed rising from it, and it quickly became very active. On the 23d a vessel encountered a large accumulation of pumice off Flat Cape, Sumatra; and on the 24th volcanic cinders fell on the island of Timor, twelve hundred miles distant.
For the next eight or nine weeks the eruption continued with great vigor, increasing in activity on August 21st, preparatory to its final great effort. On the evening of the 26th some violent explosions took place, audible at Batavia, eighty miles distant; and between 5 and 7 a. m. on the 27th there was a still more gigantic explosion, followed about 10 a. m. by a detonation so terrifie as to be heard even in India, Ceylon, Manilla, and the west coast of Australia, over two thousand miles away. Following on these came a succession of enormous waves, which completely swept the shores of the strait, utterly destroying Anjer, Telok Betong, and numerous villages, the loss of life being officially estimated at over thirty-six thousand souls. The coasts and islands in the vicinity were buried under a layer of mud and ashes.
The effects of this eruption were felt all over the world. Ashes fell at Singapore, 519 miles distant, Bengkalis, 568 miles distant, and the Cocos Islands, 764 miles to the southwestward; and undulations of the sea were recorded at Ceylon, Aden, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, and in the Pacific. A wave of atmospherical disturbance was also generated, which has been traced three times completely round the world, traveling at the speed of sound. MajA y months afterward pumice was cast ashore on Zanzibar Island and Madagascar, supposed to have drifted from the Strait of Sunda.
The height of the column of steam and smoke given off by the volcano is estimated at from nine to twelve miles,1 the consequence being that large quantities of fine dust were discharged into the upper regions of the atmosphere, giving rise to those
i The Royal Society gives an estimate of seventeen miles as the height of this great column of smoke.