The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Thursday, April 14, 2005

AP brings the sloppy


Via the NYT, the Associated Press tells us that the 1883 Krakatoa eruption was "the world's most powerful explosion". That's one of the sloppier Greatest Of claims I have read lately.

To come up with that, this reporter ignored -


  • 1815 AD, Tambora. Plunged the world into the worst winter that century (and the next), commonly called "The Year Without A Summer".
  • 535 AD, Krakatoa (probably). Even worse than 1815, this sucker not only froze out all the crops that year but it also forced an emergence of Justinian's Plague. And that's just in the Mediterranean. I personally call it "The Year Without A Sun". c.f. David Keys, Catastrophe.
  • 1628 BC, Thera. Since this was deep in the Bronze Age there isn't much of a record. But before that year there was an island at Santorini, and now there is a crescent of an island. This event is commonly considered a wellspring of both the Atlantis and the Plagues-of-Egypt legends.
  • 60,000 BC, Toba. Genetic studies have shown that there are zero humans descended from anyone in India as of at that date. Yet there are plenty of humans descended from Africans and East Asians then. Something liquidated nearly everyone in India, coincidentally at the same time as this volcano went boom in far-off Indonesia.

That's off the top of my head, mind.

The larger point is taken, though, that Java, Sumatra, and the Krakatoan strait between them is this world's own border with Hell. Out of four eruptions that make Krakatoa look like John Belushi spewing mashed potato at a frat boy, three of them are on that double-island fringe.

So that is one tropical island chain I won't be retiring to.


posted by Zimri on 21:15 | link | 0 comments

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