Krakatoa: The Great Volcanic Eruption takes viewers back in time to the first major volcanic event to gain global attention. This feature-length docudrama uses computer generated graphics and dramatic reenactments drawn from the narratives of preserved journal entries to chronicle the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa – one of, if not the most important eruption in scientific history.
The scientists who had been working in nearby areas were the first to report the initial subtle tremors that hinted at what was eventually to come. Actors give life to the Dutch geologists and volcanologists that make up the cast of characters in this retelling of the months leading up to the eruption. Located in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra, Krakatoa had been dormant for 200 years. No one at the time would have expected the looming disaster ahead. When the mounting pressure beneath Krakatoa’s surface finally peaked the resulting eruption was heard up to 3,000 miles away.
While Krakatoa essentially destroyed itself, it was uninhabited; however, the resulting tsunamis were responsible for the mass destruction of 165 nearby villages and the deaths of over 35,000 people in the otherwise peaceful region. Black and white photos of the aftermath taken by survivors give viewers heartbreaking insight into the reality of the losses incurred by the local populace.
The dramatic narrative is broken up with input from modern day researchers and volcanic experts who help inform the retelling of Krakatoa’s eruption, and bring some understanding to what we can continue to glean from it. Krakatoa’s impact was felt around the world, and even influenced weather systems on the other side of the globe. But what can be done to prevent history from repeating itself?
For example, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami occurred in the same region near Sumatra. While not caused by a volcano, this event highlighted that even with what we now know about geology and seismology it was still unpredicted and unpreventable. This edition of Naked Science gives viewers an educational yet entertaining lesson in Earth science while asking if it’s only a matter of time before a similar disaster is again caused by a volcano.