THE UNIVERSAL COMPENDIUM






Krakatoa: places where sounds and explosions were heard on the 26th and 27th of August 1883

Located on Rakata Island, Krakatoa's eruption of 1883 was historically one of the world's most catastrophic. Volcanic activity was most violent during the 26th and 27th of August which resulted in the top of the volcano collapsing, and all life in the island group being extinguished by the enormous amounts of ash that had been expulsed into the air. The region was plunged into darkness for almost three days, and red and orange sunsets were experienced around world during the next year, as were altered global temperatures. The eruption triggered tsunamis which killed some 36,000 people in Java and Sumatra, and seismic waves were recorded in South America and Hawaii. Afterwards, Krakatoa remained quiet until 1927 when an eruption began to give rise to a new island volcano subsequently named Anak Krakatau ('Child of Krakatoa').

Place[1]
Distance
from Krakatoa
[2]
Notes
Java (Indonesia)
Anjer
31
The sounds of the explosions were heard from the afternoon of the 26th.
Merak
38
'At 7 p.m. 26th, heavy detonations and violent shocks, but no earthquake.'
St Nicholas Point
44
Sounds heard on 26th and 27th.
Chikandie Udik
62
Reported by an English resident: 'The reports grew louder and louder, until the ground shook sensibly. When evening set in (26th), the detonations, far from diminishing, increased in violence.'
Batavia
94
Reported by a Lloyd's agent at Batavia: 'On 26th, about 4 p.m., a series of detonations was heard; towards night they grew louder; till in the early morning the reports and concussions were simply deafening.'
Serang
48
The loudest sounds were heard shortly after 10 a.m. on the 27th.
Buitenzorg
100
A low rumbling sound heard at 1 p.m., 26th, increasing in intensity soon afterwards, and continuing all through the night, with occasional violent explosions.
Samarang
346
Sounds were heard from the evening of the 26th till the afternoon of the 27th.
Carimon Java Island
355
Under the belief that a vessel was in distress, several native boats were despatched to render assistance on the evening of the 26th.
Near Toelong Agong, 100 miles from Sourabaya
about 400
Eyewitness Mr Edward St George: 'The noise sounded like great guns being fired at irregular intervals, and it continued all through the night, 26th—27th.'
Sourabaya (also on board the Sea Witch, ashore in the bay)
507
The detonations were heard on the 26th and 27th so distinctly that it appeared impossible they could have come from such a distance as Krakatoa.
Probolingo
542
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Banjoe Wangi, Straits of Bali
616
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Yugya Karts
357
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Sumatra (Indonesia)
Telok Betong
44
The loudest report was at about 10 a.m., 27th.
Katimbang, north-east coast of Sunda Strait
24
'When it had become quite dark on the 26th, fearful detonations were heard, like thunder and reports of guns.' The loudest report was heard at about 10 a.m. on the 27th
Palembang
228
The aerial vibrations were so strong as to cause the walls of houses to shake. The sounds were heard from the afternoon of the 26th till the morning of the 27th.
Siak
519
The sounds were heard from the afternoon of the 26th till 11 a.m., 27th.
Deli
818
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Acheen
1,073
It was supposed that a fort was being attacked, and, in consequence, the troops were put under arms
Kotta Radja
931
The sounds were not heard after the night of the 26th—27th.
Padang
512
'At 8.30 a.m., 27th, a heavy explosion, repeated five minutes afterwards... During all this time a fearful noise was heard from afar, which became stronger after 11 a.m.' The sounds were first heard at 5 p.m., 26th.
Bencoolen
277
The sounds were heard from the afternoon of the 26th.
Kroë
134
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th. A report was heard on the morning of the 28th also.
Celebes (Indonesia)
Manado
1,435
The sounds are said to have been heard not only in the town, but over the entire province in which it is situated (from the evening of the 26th to the
27th).
Macassar
969
Two steamers were sent to sea on the 27th to ascertain the cause of the reports. The sounds were heard over the whole province.
Island of Lombock
790
The reports were heard in all parts of the island, as well as in the adjoining one of Bali (26th-27th).
Island of Timor (Indonesia/East Timor)
1,351
The sounds were heard all over the island. A government steamer was despatched to ascertain their cause (26th-27th).

Bangka/Banka (Indonesia)

Minto
284
The detonations were most violent during the night of the 26th.
Lepa Island
242
The loudest reports were heard near mid-day on the 27th. It was thought that a vessel was in distress.
Belitung/Billiton (Indonesia)
Tanjong Pandang
about 277
Loudest shortly before noon on the 27th.
Straits Settlements
Singapore (Singapore)
522
Two steamers were sent on the 27th to look for the vessel which was supposed to be firing guns as signals of distress.
Selangore (Malaysia)
715
The sounds were heard from 4.30 p.m. 26th till 5 p.m., 27th.
Perak (Malaysia)
770
The sounds were thought to be distant salvos of artillery. Reports were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Penang (Malaysia)
868
At 11 a.m. 27th the sounds were mistaken for a salute from an American corvette, which, however, had sailed four hours previously.
Siam (Thailand)
 
Bangkok
1,413
The reports were heard on the 27th, and are also said to have been heard 100 miles in the interior.
Cochin China (Vietnam)
 
Cape St James
1,138
The sounds were heard on the 27th.
Saigon
1,164
Borneo
Martapoera
684
First heard on 26th.
Bandjermasin
666
First heard on 26th.
Jampaga
583
The sounds were heard on the 27th.
Soekadana
461
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Pontianak
493
First heard at 7 p.m., 26th; loudest at 11 a.m. 27th.
Labuan
1,037
The sounds appear to have been heard only on the 27th.
Banguey Island
1,235
Eyewitness Commander Hon. Foley C. P. Vereker, R.N., aboard the H.M.S. Magpie: 'The noise of the detonations caused by Mount Krakatoa, resembling distant heavy cannonading, was distinctly heard by us, and by the inhabitants of this coast as far as Banguey Island, on August 27th.'
Elopura
1,210
'It seemed as if heavy guns were being fired, at a distance of not over four or five miles away' (27th).
St Lucia Bay
1,116
Eyewitness L. von Donop, North Borneo: 'The noise of the eruption was plainly heard all over Borneo. The natives inland, who murdered poor Witti, when they heard the noise, thought we were coming to attack them from the east and west coasts, and bolted away from their village.' (26th—27th).
Samarinda, Koetei
911
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Philippine Islands (The Philippines)
Palawan
about 1,450
Eyewitness: 'The detonations were heard on the 27th, half-way up the Palawan coast.'
Manila, Luzon
1,804
The sounds were imagined to be signals from a ship in distress, and preparations were made to render assistance (27th).
New Guinea (Papua New Guinea)
Salwatty Island, North-west
coast
1,800
Eyewitness Dr F. H. Guillemard, M.A., F.L.S.: 'The Rajah of Salwatty, whom I met at the village of Samatu, told me that the noise of the eruption had been audible there.' (No date given.)
Dorey, Geelvink Bay
2,014
Eyewitness Dr F. H. Guillemard, M.A., F.L.S.: 'The reports were heard on the 27th by M. van Hasselt, residing at Dorey, and recorded at the time in his diary. The natives reported to him that they had heard similar sounds on the 26th. He described the sounds as being like distant cannonading.'
Western Australia (Australia)
Perth
1,902
Eyewitness Staff-Commander Coghlan, R.N.: 'This coast has been visited (27th) by ... sounds as of the firing of guns inland.'
Geraldton
1,675
At Geraldton and at Cossack the meteorological observers reported that sounds were heard on the 27th resembling heavy guns, the reports at Geraldton being preceded by a rumbling noise. The observer at Cossack says that similar reports were heard along the coast from the Ashburton to the Sherlock rivers, and inland as far as the Hammersley range.
Cossack
1,286
Victoria Plains
about 1,700
Western Australian, 4 September: 'People were startled by hearing a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery at a distance in a north-westerly direction. The first sounds were heard by a few persons at 11 p.m. on Sunday (26th), continuing at irregular intervals till about 4 p.m. on Monday; sometimes as many as three reports occurred in a minute, but generally there was a few minutes’ interval.'
South Australia (Australia)
Alice Springs
2,233
Report by Mr. Skinner: 'Two distinct reports, similar to the discharge of a rifle, were heard on the morning of the 27th, and similar sounds were heard at a sheep camp nine miles west of the station, and also at Undoolga, 25 miles east.'
Undoolga
about 2,250
Daly Waters
2,023
Report by Mr. Kemp: 'On Sunday, the 26th, at midnight we were awakened by an explosion resembling the blasting of a rock, which lasted for a few minutes. Next morning, between 9.30 and 10 o'clock, a similar noise, with slight vibration, was heard and felt, continuing for 15 minutes. Men camped five miles south of Daly Waters also heard it, and the noise was heard also at Elsey Creek and other places on the overland telegraph.'
Elsey Creek
2,003
Burma (Myanmar)
Mergui
1,366
The sounds were heard on the 26th and 27th.
Tavoy
1,478
'All day on August the 27th unusual sounds were heard, resembling the boom of guns. Thinking there might be a wreck or a ship in distress, the Tavoy Superintendent sent out the police launch, but they could see nothing.'
Nicobar Islands (India)
1,299
Extract from report by officer in charge: 'Extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns
firing' (26th—27th).
Andaman Islands (India)
Port Blair
1,500
Extract from letter of Mr E. H. Man: 'At 9.30 p.m. on the 26th a report was heard as of a distant signal gun. Steamer was sent round the coast to search for the vessel supposed to be firing as signals of distress. Similar sounds were heard at irregular intervals during the two following days.'
Extract from port officer's report: 'Several reports were heard in Port Blair, supposed to be from some ship in distress. Weather between August the 27th and 29th very unsettled, and heavy rain and wind prevailed.'
Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Dutch Bay
2,058
The sounds were heard from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., 27th.
Hambantota
1,866
Eyewitness Mr H. Parker: 'Reports heard by three persons from 7 a.m. on the 26th, and by many persons during the 26th, on the night of the 26th—27th, and during the 27th. The usual style was a steady sequence of reports, and then a rapid succession of them, ending, very often, in a loud burst of two or three, or half a dozen, almost together, which was generally followed by a lull. The intensity of the sounds varied greatly.'
Tissamaharama
about 1,870
North Namona Koolie, Badulla
1,904
Heard at noon on the 27th, and continued for half an hour. 'I thought it might be some volcano in action out at sea, or else ships firing heavy guns.'
Tumpalancholai and Maha
Oya (on the Badulla road)
1,893
'Captain Walker and Mr. Fielder were puzzled at various times during the forenoon of the 27th, by hearing noises as if blasting was going on, though there was nothing of the sort for a very considerable distance, if anywhere in the district.'
Mulliyavalai
1,996
Report by Mr S. Haughton, assistant government agent: 'The District Mudaliyar reported that sounds were heard, as if cannon were being fired, from midnight, August 26th, till noon, August 27th. The sounds seemed to come from the east, and from no great distance. The apparent proximity of the explosions reported from the Mulliyavalai Pattu may have been due to the hilly nature of the country there.'
Rambodde
1,888
Sounds, resembling distant guns, were heard.
Madulsima
1,902
At first the sounds were thought to be those of guns fired at Trincomalee. First heard on the 26th.
Batticaloa
1,888
Report by Mr Elliott, assistant government agent: 'At about midnight, 26th, I heard about five or six times a noise as of a cannon, at intervals of 15 minutes, towards the east. On the morning of the 27th, too, about three times I noticed a noise similar to that of the discharge of a cannon over the sea towards the east.' From Signaller's report. 'The Sub-Collector states that at about 6 p.m. on the evening of the 26th he heard a loud report, as if a cannon was discharged down southward, which he and the people near him thought to be thunder.'
Kalmunai
1,877
Report by Mr Elliot: 'Mr Christie, of the Public Works Department, told me he had heard loud explosions seawards that morning (27th), and that, as they seemed like the discharge of heavy artillery, he presumed some man-of-war was practising with her big guns out of sight of land, as he could see no ships.'
Kokkulai
1,980
Sounds as of firing of cannon at Trincomalee.
Chemmalai
1,980
Kotinalie Valley
1,928
The sounds were heard on the 27th.
Bogawantalawa
1,911
'The sounds were heard here most distinctly. They were like blasting on the Billhulloya side, and kept on all day, from 7.30 a.m. till 4p.m.' (27th).
Galle
1,932
The sounds were heard on the 27th.
Mannar
2,047
Report by Mr Fowler, assistant government agent: 'Loud sounds, resembling the report of distant cannon, were heard to the eastward on the 27th.'
Kotaimunai
about 1,900
Report by Mr Alfred Koch: 'I heard distinctly, at about 6 p.m. on the 26th (local time), a loud report, as if a cannon was discharged down southward.'
Lunugala
1,889
'Like heavy guns fired at sea in the direction of Hambantota on the 27th.'
Chagos Islands (British Indian Ocean Territory)
Diego Garcia
2,267
Eyewitness M. Lecomte reported that dull but violent detonations were heard between 10 and 11 am on the 27th, and it was believed that they were signals from a vessel in distress. Men were sent to various points on the island, but they did not see anything.
Rodrigues (Mauritius)
2,968
Report by chief of police Mr James Wallis: 'Several times during the night of the 26th—27th reports were heard coming from the eastward, like the distant roars of heavy guns. These re ports continued at intervals of between three and four hours, until 3 p.m. on the 27th (5:48 p.m. local time at Krakatoa), and the last two were heard in the direction of Oyster Bay and Port Mathurie.'

Notes


1. Place name at the time of the eruption. Current name/location shown in brackets.
2. English miles

Sources

Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2018.

Symons, G.J. Eruption of Krakatoa, and Subsequent Phenomena. Report of the Krakatoa Committee of the Royal Society. London: Harrison and Sons, 1888.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Books

at Amazon

About UC | Contact
2018 The Universal Compendium. All Rights Reserved.