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Report on Krakatau (Indonesia) — January 1996


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 1 (January 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Krakatau (Indonesia) Steaming and fumarolic activity; cone description

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Krakatau (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199601-262000



6.102°S, 105.423°E; summit elev. 155 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During an approved visit on 6 November, the volcano was steaming but not erupting. A large sulfur-stained plug of lava, ~20% the diameter of the summit cone, was bulging out of a black cinder cone just below and W of the summit; it appeared to be inside the SW margin of a broad depression. A smaller sulfur-stained plug was farther S in another depression. The landing site on the SE shore was a black-sand beach with tiny dunes of white pumice. While climbing the SE slope of the older cone, the party crossed water-eroded fields of pyroclastic material dotted with volcanic bombs. The ascent to the summit went through deep cinder deposits covered with a blanket of loose breadloaf-sized stones. From the summit complicated internal crater structures could be seen. One symmetrical cone (~100 m across) had a sulfur-lined inner rim that was fuming. The largest and most active fumaroles were inside this cone's S rim. A smaller cone within the larger one was almost horseshoe-shaped and steeper to the S. Bombs on the summit cone were as large as 1-2 m in diameter.

Geological Summary. The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. Collapse of the ancestral 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 Rakata, Danan, and Perbuwatan volcanoes 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 cones of Danan and Perbuwatan. Anak Krakatau has been the site of frequent eruptions since 1927.

Information Contacts: Steve O'Meara, PO Box 218, Volcano, HI 96785, USA.