GeoJournal

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 109–121 | Cite as

Krakatau revisited: The course of events and interpretation of the 1883 eruption

  • Self Stephen 
Article

Abstract

Magma chamber over-pressuring by volatile saturation and/or a magma mixing event may have triggered the 1883 eruption of Krakatau. From the beginning of activity on 20 May to the onset of the 22–24 hour-long climactic phase on 26–27 August, Krakatau produced a discontinuous series of vulcanian to sub-plinian eruptions. Based on contemporary descriptions, the intensity of these phases may previously have been underestimated. The most realistic estimate of eruptive volume (magnitude) is about 10 km3 of dacitic magma. The climax of the eruption began at 1:00 pm on 26 August with a plinian phase which led into a 5-hour-long ignimbrite-producing phase. Caldera collapse most probably occurred near the end of the eruption on 27 August, precluding large scale magma-seawater interaction as a major influence on the eruption column and characteristics of the pyroclastic deposits. Very rapid displacement of the sea by pyroclastic flows remains the best explanation for the series of catastrophic sea waves that devastated the shores of the Sunda Straits, with the last and largest tsunami coinciding with the slumping of half of Rakata cone into the actively forming caldera, perhaps during a period of great pyroclastic flow production. The large audible explosions recorded on 27 August may have been the rapid ejection of large pulses of magma that collapsed to form pyroclastic flows in the ignimbrite-forming phase. Co-ignimbrite ash columns rising in the atmosphere immediately after the generation of each major pyroclastic flow may have contributed to the magnitude of the air waves. A reappraisal of the eruption in the light of this, in conjunction with the pressure (air wave) and tide gauge (tsunami) records from Jakarta, suggests that the relationship between the latter two has been oversimplified in previous studies. Tsunami travel times from Krakatau to Jakarta probably varied more than hitherto thought and there need not be a simple correlation between the times of the explosions and the initiation of the tsunamis. However, tsunamis in the Sunda Straits and vicinity probably were not caused or influenced by coupling with the air waves. Various hypotheses about the cause of the tsunamis and explosions are reviewed and it is concluded that the cause of both is most likely related to the sudden emission of large pulses of magma that led to formation of the Krakatau ignimbrite.

Keywords

Tide Gauge Pyroclastic Flow Pyroclastic Deposit Eruption Column Large Pulse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Banister, J. R.: Pressure waves generated by the Mount St. Helens eruption. J. Geophys. Res. 89, 4895–4904 (1984)Google Scholar
  2. Blake, S.: Volatile saturation during the evolution of silicic magma chambers as an eruption trigger. J. Geophys. Res. 89, 8237–8244 (1984)Google Scholar
  3. Blake, S.; Campbell, I. H.: The dynamics of mixing during flow in volcanic conduits. Contrib. Mineral. Petrol. 94, 72–81 (1986)Google Scholar
  4. Camus, G.; Vincent, P. M.: Discussion of a new hypothesis for the Krakatau volcanic eruption in 1883. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 19, 167–173 (1983)Google Scholar
  5. Camus, G.; Vincent, P. M.: Petrologic evolution of Krakatau (Indonesia): implications for a future activity. J. Volcanol. Geophys. Res. 22, 299–316 (1987)Google Scholar
  6. Druitt, T.; Sparks, R. S. J.: On the formation of calderas during ignimbrite formation. Nature 310, 679 (1984)Google Scholar
  7. Fierstein, J.; Hildreth, W.: The plinian eruptions of 1912 at Novarupta, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Bull, Volcanol. in review (1992)Google Scholar
  8. Fierstein, J.; Nathanson, M.: Another look at the calculation of fallout tephra volumes. Bull Volcanol. 54, 156–167 (1992)Google Scholar
  9. Francis, P. W.: The origin of the 1883 Krakatau tsunamis. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 25, 349–364 (1985)Google Scholar
  10. Francis, P. W.; Self, S.: The eruption of Krakatau. Sci. Amer. 249, 172–187 (1983 a)Google Scholar
  11. Francis, P. W.; Self, S.: Tsunamis and pyroclastic flows of the Krakatau eruption, 1883. Eos 64, 872 (1983 b)Google Scholar
  12. Goerke, V. H.; Young, G. M.; Cook, R. K.: Infrasonic observations of the May 16, 1963 volcanic explosion on the island of Bali. J. Geophys. Res. 70, 6017–6022 (1965)Google Scholar
  13. Gorshkov, G. S.: Gigantic eruption of the volcano Bezymianny. Bull. volcanol. 20, 77–102 (1959)Google Scholar
  14. Harkrider, D.; Press, F.: The Krakatau air-sea waves: an example of pulse propagation in coupled systems. Geophys. J. R. Astron. Soc. 13, 149–153 (1967)Google Scholar
  15. Heiken, G. H.; Wohletz, K.: Volcanic ash. 246 pp., University of Calif. Press, Berkeley 1985.Google Scholar
  16. Kieffer, S. W.: Fluid dynamics of the May 18 blast at Mount St. Helens. U. S. Geol. Surv. Prof. Pap. 1250, 379–400 (1981)Google Scholar
  17. Kieffer, S. W.; Sturtevant, B.: Laboratory studies of volcanic jets. J. Geophys. Res. 89, 8253–8268 (1986)Google Scholar
  18. Latter, J. H.: Tsunamis of volanic origin: Summary of causes, with particular reference to Krakatoa, 1883. Bull. Volcanol. 44, 467–490 (1981)Google Scholar
  19. Mauk, F. J.: Utilization of seismically recorded infrasonic-acoustic signals to monitor volcanic explosions: The El Chichón sequence 1982 — a case study. J. Geophys. Res. 88, 10385–10401 (1983)Google Scholar
  20. Nairn, I. A.: Atmospheric shock waves and condensation clouds from Ngauruhoe explosive eruptions. Nature 259, 190–192 (1976)Google Scholar
  21. Ninkovich, D.: Distribution, age and chemical composition of tephra layers in deep-sea sediments off Western Indonesia. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 5, 67–86 (1979)Google Scholar
  22. Pallister, J. S.; Hoblitt, R. P.; Reyes, A. G.: A basalt trigger for the 1991 eruptions of Pinatubo volcano? Nature 356, 426–428 (1992)Google Scholar
  23. Press, F.; Harkrider, D.: Propagation of acoustic-gravity waves in the atmosphere. J. Geophys. Res. 67, 3889–3908 (1962)Google Scholar
  24. Reed, J. W.: Air pressure waves from Mount St. Helens eruptions. J. Geophys. Res. 92, 11979–11992 (1987)Google Scholar
  25. Rowland, S.; Jurado, Z.; Walker, G. P. L.: El Jorullo, Mexico: The nature of “violent strombolian” eruptions is determined by the yield strength of magma. Eos 72, 568 (1991)Google Scholar
  26. Self, S.: Large-scale phreatomagmatic volcanism: a case study from New Zealand. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 17, 433–469 (1983)Google Scholar
  27. Self, S.; Rampino, M. R.: Comments on “A geophysical interpretation of the 1883 Krakatau eruption” by I. Yokoyama. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 13, 379–386 (1983)Google Scholar
  28. Self, S.; Rampino, M. R.: The 1883 eruption of Krakatau. Nature 294, 699–704 (1981)Google Scholar
  29. Self, S.; Rampino, M. R.; Newton, M. S.; Wolff, J. A.: Volcanological study of the great Tambora eruption of 1815. Geology 12, 659–663 (1984)Google Scholar
  30. Self, S.; Wohletz, K. H.: A new look at initiation and timing of the Krakatau 1883 eruption sequence. Eos 64, 872, (1983)Google Scholar
  31. Sigurdsson, H.; Carey, S.; Mandreville, C.; Bronto, S.: Pyroclastic flows of the 1883 Krakatau eruption. Eos 72, 377, 380–381 (1991)Google Scholar
  32. Simkin, T.; Fiske, R. S.: Krakatau 1883 — The Volcanic Eruption and Its Effects. 464 pp., Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, DC 1983.Google Scholar
  33. Simkin, T.; Sieber, L.; McClelland, L.; Bridge, D.; Newhall, C.; Latter, J. H.: Volcanoes of the world. 232 pp., Smithsonian Inst., Ross Publ. Co., Stroudsberg, Pa. 1981.Google Scholar
  34. Sparks, R. S. J.; Moore, J. G. F.; Rice, C. J.: The giant umbrella cloud of Mount St. Helens. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 28, 257–274 (1986)Google Scholar
  35. Sparks, R. S. J.; Sigurdsson, H.; Wilson, L.: Magma mixing: a mechanism for triggering acid explosive eruptions. Nature 267, 315–318 (1977)Google Scholar
  36. Strachey, R.: On the air waves and sounds caused by the eruption of Krakatoa in August, 1883. In: Symons, G. J. (ed.), The Eruption of Krakatoa and Subsequent Phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society. pp 57–88, Trubner and Co., London 1888.Google Scholar
  37. Stehn, C. E.: The geology and volcanism of the Krakatau Group, Batavia. Proc. Fourth Pacif. Sci. Congr. Guidebook, 1–55 (1929)Google Scholar
  38. Symons, G. J. (ed.): The Eruption of Krakatoa and Subsequent Phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society. 494 pp., Trubner and Co., London 1888.Google Scholar
  39. Verbeek, R. D. M.: The Krakatau eruption. Nature 30, 10–15 (1884)Google Scholar
  40. Verbeek, R. D. M.: Krakatau. 495 pp., Govt. Press, Batavia 1885.Google Scholar
  41. Vincent, P. M.; Camus, G.: The origin of the 1883 Krakatau tsunamis, by P. W. Francius: Discussion. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 30, 169–177 (1986)Google Scholar
  42. Walker, G. P. L.: Ignimbrite types and ignimbrite problems. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 17, 65–88 (1983)Google Scholar
  43. Westerveld, J.: Quaternary volcanism of Sumatra. Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull. 63, 561–594 (1952)Google Scholar
  44. Williams, H.: Calderas and their origins. Univ. Calif Publ. 25–6, 239–346 (1941)Google Scholar
  45. Woods, A. W.; Caulfield, C-C. P.: A laboratory study of explosive volcanic eruptions. J. Geophys. Res. 97, 6699–6712 (1992)Google Scholar
  46. Woods, A. W.; Kienle, J.: The dynamics and thermodynamics of volcanic clouds: Theory and observations from the April 15 and April 21, 1990, eruption of Redoubt, Alaska. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., in press (1992)Google Scholar
  47. Woods, A. W.; Wohletz, K.: Dimensions and dynamics of coignimbrite eruption columns. Nature 350, 225–227 (1991)Google Scholar
  48. Woulff, G.; McGetchin, T. R.: Acoustic noise from volcanoes: Theory and experiment. Geophys. J. Roy. Astron. Soc. 45, 601–616 (1976)Google Scholar
  49. Yokoyama, I.: A geophysical interpretation of the 1883 Krakatau eruption. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 9, 359–378 (1981)Google Scholar
  50. Yokoyama, I.: A scenario of the 1883 Krakatau tsunamis. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 34, 123 (1987)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Self Stephen 
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST)University of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations