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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Almanac: Krakatau volcanic eruption

Air Date: Week of August 10, 2001

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This week, facts about the Krakatau volcanic eruption 118 years ago.

Transcript

CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. One hundred and eighteen Augusts ago, the earth was sent the mother of all wake-up calls. On the island of Krakatau located between Java and Sumatra, a volcano exploded with the force of ten thousand Hiroshima atomic bombs. The explosion was heard as far as 1500 miles away. It's shockwaves traveled four times around the globe and created a massive tsunami; 40,000 people died in its wake. On the other hand, Krakatau offered a unique opportunity for biologists. Complete obliteration of flora and fauna there allowed them to study the rebirth of an ecosystem. Beginning with a single spider blown to the island nine months after the blast, wildlife soon reestablished itself. After 25 years, coastal trees reached 115 feet. And the island was supporting a host of insects and birds, even a large reticulated python. The recovery of Krakatau, now a forested national park, continues to intrigue scientists, and provides a reminder that life indeed can follow death. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

 

 

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