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Report on Krakatau (Indonesia) — September 1980


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 5, no. 9 (September 1980)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Krakatau (Indonesia) Explosions continue

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1980. Report on Krakatau (Indonesia) (Squires, D., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 5:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198009-262000



6.1009°S, 105.4233°E; summit elev. 285 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Increased activity from Anak Krakatau began in March, when detonations were heard from Pasauran, 40 km away on the W coast of Java. Incandescent material was thrown to 200 m height during a period between 19 April at 2300 and 20 April at 0415, when 200 explosions were recorded. Activity declined after 20 April but continued intermittently through September.

A stronger explosion occurred on 9 September at 0039. It rattled windows and shook houses in Pasauran, and a 3-4 cm-amplitude explosion event was recorded on the seismograph there. Ash clouds reached about 1.5 km altitude in September and explosions continued at the end of the month. The source of the 1980 activity is a new vent that approximately coincides with the 1975 crater and is about 250 m NW of the 1978-79 eruption center.

A research group consisting of a biologist, oceanographer, environmentalist, and volcanologist are studying Krakatau under the auspices of the centennial commemoration of the 1883 eruption. The Centennial Committee invites scientists worldwide to participate in a 3-year period of research at Krakatau.

Geological Summary. The renowned Krakatau (frequently mis-named as Krakatoa) volcano lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of an older edifice, perhaps in 416 or 535 CE, formed a 7-km-wide caldera. Remnants of that volcano are preserved in Verlaten and Lang Islands; subsequently the Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan cones were formed, coalescing to create the pre-1883 Krakatau Island. Caldera collapse during the catastrophic 1883 eruption destroyed Danan and Perbuwatan, and left only a remnant of Rakata. This eruption caused more than 36,000 fatalities, most as a result of tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km across the Sunda Strait and reached the Sumatra coast. After a quiescence of less than a half century, the post-collapse cone of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) was constructed within the 1883 caldera at a point between the former Danan and Perbuwatan cones. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

Information Contacts: A. Sudradjat and L. Pardyanto, VSI; M. Krafft, Cernay; Kompas, Jakarta.