August 27 - 1883 - The Eruption of Krakatoa
Krakatoa was known as a volcanic island well before 1883, and it was billowing smoke throughout the summer of 1883. Even that history could not prepare anyone for the eruption that would take place there. On August 26th, large ash columns issued from the three peaks of the island and explosive sounds were heard. Then on August 27th, explosions unlike anything else in recorded history took place. The noise of the eruption was possibly the loudest noise in recorded history. People up to 3,000 miles away heard an explosive sound, and even believed it was nearby cannon fire. The eruption caused tsunamis that damaged population centers along the nearby Sumatran coast. Waves would rock boats across the Indian Ocean. The majority of the island itself was destroyed, with only the southern end remaining. Temporary ash islands were developed. Across the globe, the effects were felt for years. Skeletons and volcanic rock would wash up on Africa's coast. The global temperature dropped over 1 degree centigrade, and massive rains took place. The sulfur in the atmosphere also caused the sky to change, as sunsets were more vibrant. Most strikingly, this made Krakatoa a global event, perhaps one of the first natural disasters to be one.