An 1888 lithograph courtesy upload.wikimedia..org.
It was on this day in 1883 that Krakatoa, an island in the Pacific between Java and Sumatra, blew its top. Four explosions were heard from as far away as Perth, Australia, at a distance of 28,000 miles. Shock waves circled the planet seven times, the eruption's force equaling 200 megatons of TNT. Lava flowed at 72 miles per hour. The Captain of the German warship Elizabeth recounted that a cloud of dust spewed out of the crater, estimated at 6 miles in height. Thirty-six thousand people were killed by the lava, the smoke, or the 120 foot high wall of water which rose out of the ocean after the eruption. Over two-thirds of the island were destroyed. Eleven cubic tons of debris flew into the atmosphere, separating the earth from the sun's rays. Local residents had no dawn for three days. Spectacular sunsets painted the sky all over the world for months afterwards. Weathermen recorded average temperatures at 1.2 degrees lower than normal.
For more information, see my post "Sunset Over the Ice" at http://alinefromlinda.blogspot.ca/2011/06/sunset-over-ice.html.