Anak Krakatau erupting, continuous volcanic ash up to 3 km (10 000 feet) a.s.l., Indonesia

Anak Krakatau erupting, continuous volcanic ash up to 3 km (10 000 feet) a.s.l., Indonesia

Phreatomagmatic activity at the Indonesian Anak Krakatau volcano has increased over the past couple of days. This is the site of a major eruption and resulting tsunami on December 22, 2018, during which at least 426 people lost their lives and 30 000 were injured, 

Several eruptive episodes took place since 10:29 UTC on October 28, resulting in three Orange VONAs by 09:31 UTC today (VONA, Volcano Observatory Notification for Aviation).

The Darwin VAAC is reporting continuous volcanic ash up to 3 km (10 000 feet) above sea level on December 30.

The height of the plume is variable depending on eruption strength. 3 km (10 000 feet) is highest observed to far SW, based on Himawari-8 imagery acquired at 09:10 UTC today, Jakarta sounding at 00:00 UTC today and model guidance.

Anak Krakatau on December 30, 2019. Credit: Copernicus EU/Sentinel-3

The public and tourists are not allowed to approach the volcano within a radius of 2 km (1.2 miles) from the crater.

The Alert Level remains at 2 (on a scale of 1-4).

Much of the island of Anak Krakatau was destroyed in a series of events that included a deadly tsunami from a flank collapse, a Vulcanian explosion, and several days of Surtseyan phreatomagmatic activity1

Due to the location of the volcano in the middle of the Sunda Strait, surrounded by coastal communities, damage from the tsunami was once again significant. Over 400 fatalities and 30 000 injuries were reported along with damage to thousands of homes, businesses, and boats.

After a small explosion on January 8, 2019, the volcano remained quiet until February 14 when a new seismic event was recorded. Intermittent explosions increased in frequency and continued through July 2019; images of Surtseyan explosions with ejecta and steam rising a few hundred meters were occasionally captured.


 Related: 

Related articles below cover events leading to December 22 eruption, including off-scale seismicity detected during July 2018, and post-eruption events and studies in chronological order.​

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Geological summary

The renowned volcano Krakatau (frequently misstated as Krakatoa) lies in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra. The collapse of the ancestral Krakatau edifice, perhaps in 416 CE, formed a 7-km-wide (4.3 miles) caldera.

Remnants of this ancestral 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 volcanoes, and left only a remnant of Rakata volcano.

This eruption, the 2nd largest in Indonesia during historical time, caused more than 36 000 fatalities, most as a result of devastating tsunamis that swept the adjacent coastlines of Sumatra and Java. Pyroclastic surges traveled 40 km (25 miles) 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. (GVP)

Featured image credit: Magma Indonesia

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