OF REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA  - Founded 24 January 1895

4:00 P.M.

December 13, 2007, the 1754th meeting of the Fortnightly Club of Redlands


Frederick C. Edwards

“Oh, East is East and West is West,
and never the twain shall meet.”
--Rudyard Kipling, Barrack-room Ballads, 1892

Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library

1883 proved to be a year of notable events.  Here are just a few.

The Supreme Court of the United States dealt a severe blow to civil rights by dismembering the Civil Rights Act of 1875, declaring that the federal government may not regulate private discrimination.

To end the confusion caused by scores of different local time zones the railroads divided the country into four time zones, Eastern, Central, Rocky Mountain, and Pacific.

In medicine, antipyrine was introduced, to reduce fever and pain.  It was the first analgesic to be synthesized.  In Germany, bacteriologist Robert Koch developed a preventive inoculation against anthrax.

The Metropolitan Opera was founded in the City of New York, and Life Magazine came upon the scene.  And in the Church of All Saints, in the little canal-side town of Marsworth, Buckinghamshire, England, Elizabeth Mead and Joseph Edwards made their vows of marriage.

Nearly half the circumfrence of the Earth distant from all of the above an event occurred that was to change our perceptions and understanding of many things. The Sunda Strait is roughly in the middle of the crescent-shaped archipelago that defines the five-mile deep gash in the sea floor known as the Java Trench, and the islands, generated by the subduction of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate.

The specific location of the event is the volcanic island of Krakatau, situated 6” 06’ S, and 105” 26’ E, in the Sunda Strait, west of Java, not east as the title of a not very good 1969 book and movie suggest.  The region lies approximately 2000 km south from Vietnam and Cambodia (Kampuchea), places with which some of you had more acquaintance than you might have preferred at the time.

In 1883, few Americans knew anything about that immense archipelago of volcanic islands then called the Dutch East Indies, and now the independent nation of Indonesia.

Marco Polo may have come to these islands.  He was ridiculed for stories he brought back, such as about people cooking food over burning “black rocks.”  Such “black rocks” now furnish energy and pollution to much of the world.  Arab traders came in the 13th century, and brought Islam, which caught on quickly

The Chinese, led by Admiral Cheng Ho, conducted seven voyages there from 1405 to 1430.  Evidently Admiral Ho was a man much respected, the evidence of which is that an elaborate tomb was built for him, but his body never occupied it.  Ho died at sea seeking to fulfill a directive to establish contact with western cultures.  The tomb was redesigned and rebuilt in 1980 in a more typical Muslim style, and less that of the native culture.

The interest of the Chinese waned and trade ceased.  Half a century later the Portuguese arrived seeking spices of all sorts, especially pepper, but all of which were worth a fortune in Europe. When the Portuguese fortunes faded, the Dutch were glad to take their place.  While the Portuguese had reasonable dealings with the native peoples, the Dutch brought with them a reputation for harshness.  Their colony, Batavia, imposed strict rules, the breaking of which could result in brutal punishment and even death by beheading.  Some of the native people were used as slave labor, and others kept in utter poverty.  All non-European peoples were reminded constantly of their subordinate status.  They were forbidden to wear hats, even when working in the hot sun.  Even though the Dutch had a system of trolleys drawn by small horses, the indigenous people were forbidden to ride in them.  Fearing reprisals or violence the early Dutch settlers protected their colony by erecting high palisades, and later a stone wall around the town.

Though the Islamic religion had swept swiftly through Sumatra and Java, the Dutch had little to fear, for these were a gentle and generous people, among whom the orthodoxies of Islam were hardly obeyed at all.  Rather an amalgam of Islam and local beliefs and passions proved to be very popular.  Here was a place where there was color, gaiety, mixed with animism and long revered local gods, where sex was fun and girls went half naked, unlikely to ever want to veil themselves.  Thus Islam took on a very different form, well disposed to anyone, whether Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu.

The British also had some early interests in the region and came into conflict with the Dutch, but before long British interests became more focused upon India.  One small island in the area, however, was retained by the British, and legend has it that the British sought a profitable way of leaving.  The Dutch, it is said, happened to want to rid themselves of another island which in which they now had little interest, and so a trade was arranged.  The Dutch got the small island, thus eliminating any conflict or competition, and the British got the island that was formerly a Dutch colony, that we call Manhattan. I say it is legend since there is no treaty or other paper instrument to validate that story.  It makes a good story though. 

Consider now that the European influence and colonial power in 1883, was Dutch.  While the native peoples, from myriad ethnic backgrounds, were poor and primitive, repressed and largely illiterate, the Dutch had built a colony much like a town in the Netherlands, with electricity, telephones, contact with the outside world, and the power of trade in goods of the Netherlands East India Company.

In this context let us consider the main event, the eruption of Krakatau.

In the summer of 1883, in the Sunda Straits between Java and Sumatra, the volcanic island called Krakatau (or Krakatoa) exploded, blowing eleven cubic miles of ash and rock into the stratosphere as the greater part of the island disappeared in an instant.  That cataclysmic event sent measurable shockwaves at least seven times around the globe.  The explosion and the resulting tsunami claimed the lives of at least 36,000 people.  The Tsunami’s near-spent energy was seen as far away as the shores of the English Channel.  Volcanic debris wreathed the planet, affecting weather and harvest patterns for several years, and with a definite cooling effect upon the earth.

At least 10% of the resulting deaths were due to falling hot tephra, or volcanic ash.  (The word “tephra” from the Greek, meaning ash, was not used in this context until 1940.) Pyroclastic flow travelled 40 km across the Sunda Strait to Sumatra, and was hot enough to cause burn-related deaths, and to burn entire villages and vegetation. The amount of ash generated by Krakatau is estimated to be about 20 cubic kilometers, or about 20 times that of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

Pyroclastic flow takes place over water when the falling ash is hot enough to turn the surface of the water to steam, and thus provides the vehicle for other hot ash to flow out very quickly over that steam surface.

Ships at sea experienced the eruption in different ways.  The ship Louden located 65 km north-northeast of Krakatau was struck by severe winds and tephra.  The W. H. Besse, 80 km east-northeast of Krakatau was hit by hurricane-force winds and heavy tephra.  Some ships nearer the explosion experienced a heavy fall of pumice, and those aboard had to clear the debris overboard.  Large banks of pumice soon filled the Sunda Strait and for weeks prevented relief ships from reaching coastal communities.  Many pieces were large enough to walk upon as they floated.  Thousands of bodies of victims floated on islands of pumice, some reaching the coast of Australia.  Some of this floating pumice/tephra floated as far as Durban, South Africa, driven by the prevailing winds of the southern hemisphere.

Tephra from the eruption fell as far as 2500 km downwind, however the finest fragments and dust were propelled high into the stratosphere, and spread outward as a broad cloud across the entire equatorial belt in only two weeks, and then moved farther north.  These particles remained suspended in the atmosphere for years.  Sulphur dioxide gas molecules combined with water vapor resulted in aerosols which veiled the sun enough to drop global temperature.  The aerosol-rich veil eventually covered 70% of the surface of the earth, producing such visual effects as haloes around sun and moon, and exotic colors in the sky. It is interesting that art work of the time provides a graphic record of the remarkable colors especially in the sunsets, in the work of such artists as Edgar Degas, Gustav Klimt, James Whistler, and Claude Monet, as had previously been shown in the work of Joseph Mallord William Turner, and John Singleton Copley, following the 1815 Tambora eruption.

Most of the fatalities were not from earthquake, falling debris, or tephra, but from the tsunamis generated by the blast.  Entire communities were wiped out and people swept out to sea by tsunamis up to 40 m (131 ft.) in height.  Sebesi Island, for example, with a population of 3000, was inundated by mammoth waves that washed away all of its people, all vegetation, and all evidence of human habitation.

Spectacular evidence of the strength of the tsunami can be seen in the amazing fact that the steamship Berouw, which was anchored in Lampong Bay, was washed up the Koeripan River Valley and deposited over a mile inland, thirty feet above sea level, killing all 28 members of the crew.

The Krakatau explosion of 1883 was not its first, nor surely its last.  Neither was it by far the largest such volcanic eruption in that area.  There are more than 130 active volcanoes in the Sumatra-Java trench, which makes it truly a gigantic volcano factory.  The largest volcanic explosion we know of in that area is Mount Toba, some 74,000 years ago in what is now northern Sumatra.  It had a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of  8, the highest on a scale that is now universally used to classify all eruptions.  It left behind an immense lake fifty miles long and fifteen miles wide, with sheer cliffs from the sides of the collapsed caldera that rise 800 feet straight out of the water.  The effect of this explosion and what was injected into the stratosphere was surely to have cooled the earth by several degrees, contributing to a climate already in the process of becoming another ice age.

In recorded history, in 1815, sixty-eight years before Krakatau’s eruption, and in the same subduction zone, Tambora erupted with a force several times that of Krakatau.  It is known to have killed at least 100,000 people in that region.  The resulting volcanic dust that enveloped the planet caused remarkable cooling of the earth, to the extent that the following year, 1816, is often referred to as “the year without a summer.”  There were snow storms in New England in June and July, and crops failed for lack of the sun’s warmth.  The resulting hunger and even famine in many places accounted for the deaths of many more people.  In America the drastic weather change is said to have prompted the beginning of the great migration from New England into the western territories. 

An interesting sidebar on that terrible winter concerns the author Mary Shelley.  The frosts of that summer kept Mary Shelley and her husband Percy closed up on the shores of Lake Geneva, in the house of Lord Byron.  Even with good company confinement in a house can become tedious, and so Byron suggested a ghost story writing contest for amusement.  Mary Shelley’s contribution to the contest, whether the winner or not, eventually became her gothic novel, “Frankenstein.”

One might make the erroneous assumption that aerosols produced by human-made pollution in the upper atmosphere should have a cooling effect upon the earth, but the effect of such pollution has exactly the opposite effect, hence our concern about global warming.

Krakatau isn’t in the same league as Mt.Tambora.  It doesn’t rate as much more than a “pop” to the Miocene epoch volcanic explosion described to us in Dr. Allen Griesemer’s paper presented in our meeting #1751, November 1, of this year.  Krakatau doesn’t even rank third or fourth in explosive power in the past two millennia.  Third is Taupo, in New Zealand, about 180 B.C.E., and fourth is Katmai, on the landward end of the Aleutian chain, in 1912.  Katmai is so remote, however, that its eruption was hardly noticed except for the frozen lakes it left behind.  If Krakatau (VEI 6.5) is not the largest, even in the 19th century, then why is it so important?  Why should we be interested in it?

Remember that there were no literate witnesses to that ancient explosion of Toba, nor apparently even of Tambora, only 78 years before Krakatau.  Nobody recorded the event itself, but only the aftermath.  We only know Tambora in the deaths of people in the area, and its effect upon the atmosphere.  Krakatau was different, principally because of its placement in the historical context.  The Krakatau explosion was different in that it happened on the very cusp of new discoveries and inventions that were to tell us much about the eruption itself, as well as its effect upon what we would rather lately recognize is a global village.

Here we shall consider a few of those inventions and discoveries.

Never before for such an event had there been such an immediate means of communication.  Samuel F. B. Morse had invented the telegraph, and on May 24, 1844, had transmitted the famous biblical message, “What hath God wrought!” from the Supreme Court in Washington D.C., to his colleague Alfred Vail, forty miles away in Baltimore. The message was sent by means of a code of dots and dashes representing each letter of the alphabet.  Twelve years later the electric telegraph was introduced to the Indies. In 1859, the Dutch colonial offices in Batavia were connected to Singapore, and in 1870, by links to the Malay States, and to Australia. 

By 1883, there were telegraph stations in many cities and towns all over the globe, sending and receiving messages. By means of dots and dashes news events could be made known to someone at the other end of the line within seconds.  This was far from a seamless system, of course.  Messages received by one station sometimes had to be carried by messenger to where another station could relay it on again by wire to yet another receiver.  For broad distribution among the populace, of course, that news still had to be translated into print medium. It is easy to understand that a system of dots and dashes can lead to mistakes.  Thus when one such transmission misspelled the name of the volcano, and was repeated many times, it became “Krakatoa.”

Ancillary to Morse’s invention was the discovery of a rather strange substance called gutta percha.  Gutta percha is a latex substance made from the coagulated sap of various plants found in Southeast Asia.  Though undersea telegraph cables were already in use, they often broke or ceased to function because of water leaking in, until the discovery of gutta percha. It was gutta percha that provided a strong and flexible, and an amazingly good waterproofing substance which greatly improved the dependability of underwater cables.

There was a romance and mystery about the undersea cables carrying messages,  Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote imaginatively about coded voices hurrying along the ocean floor, and Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem titled, “The Deep-Sea Cables.”

Another important invention of communication was the work of a Scottish-born scientist and inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone in 1876.  Bell became an American citizen in 1882, and by then there were telephone companies in many major cities and towns in various places of the world, usually with published lists of their subscribers, and in America that new word “hello” found its way into the dictionary.  The first inter-city telephone network connected New York and Boston in 1883, but since there was no World Series that year, and the New York “Gothams” didn’t play the Boston “Beaneaters,” perhaps there wasn’t much to talk about between New York and Boston.  (Yes, those were the names of the teams.)  In 1883, the telephone company in Seattle, Washington boasted 90 telephone subscribers.  In far away Indonesia, the homes of the prosperous residents of Batavia were connected by a telephone system as early as 1882.  There, in addition to the usual gossip and news, the colony surely shared their concerns about the increasingly powerful earthquakes, and the rumblings, and eruptions of smoke and lava from Krakatau, visible across the water.

You may remember that in 1643, Evangelista Torricelli invented the mercury barometer, which showed there were changes in atmospheric pressure that roughly corresponded to changes in the weather. In the Paris Observatory, established in 1667, there were attempts to predict weather based largely upon such changes in atmospheric pressure.  The British Meteorological Office was established in 1872, to study weather and make predictions.  (If the BMO predicted rain in England they couldn’t be far wrong, at least not for long.) 

The aneroid (without liquid) barometer made pressure changes easier to read, and made possible the invention of the recording barograph, which was to have a special place in the analysis of the Krakatau eruption.  The recording barograph consisted of an aneroid barometer linked to an ink trace that recorded the variations in atmospheric pressure upon a sheet of graph paper fastened around a clockwork-driven drum.  A week’s variations in pressure were thus recorded on a single sheet of paper. These were expensive and beautiful instruments, fashioned out of steel and brass, housed in glass and polished wood.  Those who could afford a fine recording barograph displayed it with pride at home, but more often such instruments were displayed on a shelf or table in clubs and hotels.  The recording barograph thus became of interest to amateur weather prognosticators around the world.  The weekly paper record of pressure variations was  exchanged each week for a new piece of graph paper, and the one already recorded stored with others in the drawer provided.  We shall see a bit later how this fits into the picture, but now consider another theory and discovery.

An interesting theory had been put forth in 1815, by Alfred Wegner, a German meteorologist and arctic explorer, who was described by a colleague as a quiet man, pipe-smoker, both taciturn and tenacious. Wegner’s book was titled, in English translation, The Origin of the Continents and Oceans, in which he used a phrase for which he was roundly ridiculed and derided by scientists of his time, die Verscheibung der Kontinente, or “displacement of the continents.” In 1926 that phrase, entered the English language, somewhat altered, as “continental drift.”  Wegner’s attention had been attracted by a simple Mercator map of the world, and he noticed what even a young child viewing such a map might notice, that many of the land masses are shaped like pieces of a planet-size jigsaw puzzle, or what Francis Bacon described in 1620 simply as “the fit.”  It would prove to be a long road to the acceptance of Wegner’s theory.

Fast-forward to a more recent time.

A seventh grade boy, following a lesson in geography, approached his teacher with the observation, “It looks as though these pieces fit together.  Is it possible that they might once have been one big continent?” The teacher listened patiently, but then explained that it would have been impossible because those large land masses could not have moved.  He accepted her answer, almost, but the thought still intrigued him.  That was in 1946, and it would not be until 1965 that his curiosity in that matter would at last find satisfaction in the confirmation of Wegner’s 1815 theory.  Though ridiculed and reviled in his time, Wegner came to be regarded as one of the most prescient figures of the twentieth century, though some forty years or more after his death. The seventh-grader’s observation was not unique among children.  We have learned that even very young children, upon seeing maps of the world, ask similar questions.  Go into almost any children’s bookstore today and you will find books about continental drift for children as young as six years of age.

The “clincher” in the matter of continental drift came quite unexpectedly as a result of the “Cold War,” and in a seemingly unlikely place, off the coast of northern California.  It was already established that small crystals of iron oxide in magma in the process of becoming basalt rock, are oriented to the earth’s magnetic field, and permanently set as the magma cools past what is known as the Curie point (582 degrees C).  Thus as a land mass gradually shifts position, the direction to which the basaltic magnetic field is pointing indicates the direction in which it was pointing when formed.  Paleomagnetic studies, then, can determine such things as movement of a land mass or expansion of a sea bed.

In 1955, the United States Coast Guard was persuaded to tow a torpedo-like cylinder of instruments while they were looking for deep sea hiding places for American submarines, from the northern California Coast off Mendocino, to Canada’s Queen Charlotte Islands.  British geophysicist Ron Mason, then at Cal Tech, went along for the ride and recorded his own maps of the magnetic pattern of the sea floor as the Coast Guard recorded their own for more strategic purposes.  The result was such that Wegner would have rejoiced, showing a pattern irrefutably attesting to the expansion of the sea floor, incontrovertible evidence of continental drift.  It was not until 1965, however, that the theory became accepted as fact.

In 1923-1927 an exploratory team aboard two Dutch submarines detected a dramatic gravitational magnetic anomaly, corresponding precisely with the Java Trench.  It is here far below the string of 130 active volcanoes, more than any other place on earth, that the subduction of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate generates an island chain, a topographic arc, with the two largest islands, Java and Sumatra separated by the Sunda Strait.  The volcanic island of Krakatau was in the middle of the strait, uninhabited except by wildlife.

Far beneath the sea the Indo-Australian plate, being the heavier plate, as oceanic plates tend to be, continues its dive under the Eurasian plate, with resultant earthquakes and production of magma that finds its way to the surface and manifests itself in various degrees of volcanic activity. The whole process is made all the more violent with the addition of sea water as part of the subduction process.

In May, 1883, there were mild detonations from Perboewatan, the lowest of the three main craters of Krakatoa, the others being Danan and Rakata.  In that month people ventured onto the island and took photos of what appeared as a low-lying hill.  By mid-June the site had widened to include several new vents.  By mid-July banks of pumice ejected from the craters were already floating in the Sunda Strait.

The first that the western world new anything about the remarkably increasing volcanic activity in the Indonesian archipelago was on May 24, 1883, when The Times printed a nineteen-word entry on page 12, amid advertisements and articles of local color.

                 Volcanic Eruption.  Lloyd’s agent in Batavia, under date of
                 May 23rd, telegraphs:  “Strong Volcanic Eruption, Krakatowa (sic)
                 Island, Sunda Straits.”

On Sunday, August 26, at 12:53 in the afternoon, Krakatau delivered its initial salvo in a climactic eruption that lasted throughout the evening.  It was an ear-shattering fusillade accompanied by a black churning cloud of volcanic debris, rising quickly to an estimated 25 km above the island, and then widening to the northeast up to 36 km.  The intensity increased throughout Sunday.  Though tsunamis battered coastal villages the worst was yet to come.  Mr. Bell’s invention was certainly alive with conversation within the Dutch colony as people began to share their concern and wonder what precautions to take. 

On Monday, August 27, this volcanic display culminated in a series of at least four stupendous eruptions that began early in the morning, and climaxed in a colossal blast that literally blew Krakatau apart.  The noise was heard over 4600 km away, throughout the region of the Indian Ocean, from Rodriguez Island and Sri Lanka in the west, to Australia in the east.  The effect was more felt than heard in more distant places. Those people with recording barographs, in Europe and America, Asia, and Australia noticed that their instrument recorded a radical increase in barometric pressure, and then a few hours later a dramatic drop in pressure.  Through the means of communication by then available they began to confer with the network of barograph owners, and found that all had recorded the same phenomenon at the same time.  They continued to record this phenomenon in gradually decreasing strength for at least seven cycles, meaning that the barometric pressure generated by the explosion had circled the globe and been recorded at least seven times.  Other barograph records in other places of the globe showed similar results, allowing for time differences from the point of origin, Krakatau. No such record had ever existed before.

Krakatau’s violent eruption was also a catalyst to the development of meteorology, the science of weather, still in its infancy.  Since Evangelista Torricelli’s invention of the mercury barometer in 1643, it became apparent that atmospheric pressure was related to weather, and as pressure dropped storms were more likely to happen.  Local conditions were observed, but it was not until the advent of Morse’s telegraph and international connections that observations over a large area could be gathered and studied, let alone be sent as precursors of stormy weather.  Though the cause of Krakatau’s explosion had nothing to do with weather, it had a measured effect upon barometric pressure, and observable gradual spread of ash and resultant aerosols that did in fact affect weather around the globe to a measurable degree.  The spread of ash became evidence of the movement of winds aloft, of which those studying weather were hardly aware up to that time. The most visible effect as the ash spread around the globe was in the beautiful and brilliant sunsets enjoyed at the moment, and captured by artists in paintings.  If there can be any benefit at all from air pollution, it is certainly in colorful skies.

The advancement of meteorology was hastened by war, and the need to know weather conditions in which ships would sail, airplanes would fly, and battles take place. You will recall that Operation Overlord, the name for the massive invasion on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, waited upon weather predictions to assure the greatest chance of success. 

Years after the World War II, both military and civilian weather prediction was dependent upon such things as local observation of clouds, and balloons sent aloft and tracked by instruments showing temperature, pressure, and wind direction at various altitudes.  Such information was gathered from six-hourly teletype received from whatever ships were at sea, and from land based weather stations.  The information was then hand-plotted on large maps, isobars and isotherms drawn connecting them, and read by the forecaster.  The land based stations were quite dependable, but sometimes there was little information from the vast area of ocean.

It would not be until April 1, 1960 that Tiros 1, the first weather satellite, would be launched, with a camera capable of showing with amazing clarity such things as approaching clouds, storms, and hurricanes, and even volcanic eruptions.  More sophisticated satellites now reveal much of the volcanic history of the planet, including the outlines of gigantic collapsed caldera such as formed the basin for Yellowstone Park. Photos from space show topographic details and tectonic plates, and radar reveals undersea contours. Images from weather satellites shown on evening news, or on our own computer screens, tell us what the weather will be like tomorrow, or next week.  We may see hurricanes approaching Cuba, or Florida, and a storm that left us a few days ago now over our friends in Colorado or Ohio.  Land-based instruments tell us the quality of the air we breathe, and that on any given day in Los Angeles, 20% or more of the pollution in the air comes from China, and man-made aerosols, putting life the planet itself at risk, though making beautiful sunsets.

The explosion of Krakatau was one of the first provable instances in which a natural event spread over the entire world.  Tragic as it was in the immediate area, it was the first event of such magnitude that began the long process to convince us that we are indeed, a global village. Events half a world away that happened this morning become our evening news.  The plight of hungry people, and the victims of the insanity of war become the concern of compassionate people everywhere. Though walls do not protect us from people we fear we continue to build them.  The destruction and pollution of our environment – oceans, forests, rivers, and the air we breathe – affects us all.  “Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” wrote Kipling, lamenting that people east and west do not understand each other. Perhaps some day we shall, when we realize we share the same village.

What are the possibilities of another explosion of what remains of Krakatau, that smaller but very active “Anak Krakatoa,” “Child of Krakatoa,”  or perhaps one of its neighbors?  Of the 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, 67 are equipped with monitoring equipment for study and to warn of imminent eruption.

The Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, November 6, 2007.   World in Brief    Indonesia
(Headline) “Volcanic eruption may be imminent”
            “Indonesian volcanoes spewed hot ash, molten rock and clouds of
            dark smoke, and scientists warned that a violent eruption could happen
            at any moment.
            “The most threatening was Mt. Kelud on densely populated Java island,
            where a dome of magma was forming under a crater lake and soaring    temperatures overheated monitoring equipment.
            “A few hundred miles away, Anak Krakatoa, or “Child of Krakatoa,”
            fired pumice and lava onto its slopes off the northern tip of Java.  At
            east one other volcano also showered ash on villages in Indonesia, which
            has many active volcanoes.
            “Authorities monitoring the peaks were most worried about Kelud because
            of its deadly history, including a 1919 explosion that killed thousands. 
            Scientists have been warning since Friday that an eruption was imminent
            based on the frequency of tremors and its intense heat.”  (end)

We began with a few events of 1883.  Lets bring those up to date.
The Congress belatedly enacted new civil rights legislation, though not until the 1960s, and thoughtful people are sensitized to discrimination, be it public or private. 

We routinely cross the four time zones and more in a few hours and in reasonable comfort. 

We are inoculated against a host of enemies to our health.

The now famous New York Opera thrives as one of the finest in the world. 

Life magazine no longer gives us weekly news in pictures, but only occasional down-sized issues.

Oh yes, that wedding in Marsworth, Buckinghamshire.  Joseph Edwards and Elizabeth Mead were people of no special note.  They had four children, one of whom emigrated from England to the United States, and became an orange grower.  He, Fred Sr., and his wife Marie, had three children, the youngest of which was a boy, that same curious 7th grader who saw the map of the world as puzzle pieces, and who now lives in Redlands. 

Frederick C. “Fred” Edwards


Blair, Lawrence, and Lorne Blair, Ring of Fire, Exploring the Last Remote Places . . . .”
Bantam Books, Toronto, 1988.

Hellemans, Alexander, and Bunch, Bryan,  The Timetables of Science, A Chronology of events, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988.

Winchester, Simon, Krakatoa, The Day the World Exploded, Harper Collins, New York, 2003.

Partial list of other sources.  Listed by subject, not necessarily by title.
“The History of the Spice Trade in India”  Emory University  

“1816, the Year Without a Summer,”

Year Without a Summer,

“On the Move,” Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics,  NASA Government Archive,

Depositional environments and paleolimnology of an ancient caldera lake, . .   by Daniel Larsen and Laura J. Crossey,  The Geological Society of America Bulletin,,content/abstracts/108/5/526

“Krakatau, Indonesia (1883)”   San Diego State University

(Headline) Many feared dead after Indonesian earthquake  ABC News Online 3/6/2007

The eruption of Tambora, 1815,   Radio news broadcast (NPR)  KVCR 10/27/2007

Tambora Volcano eruption in Indonesia,

Meteorology (Weather, horizontal movement)

BBC Weather Centre –

The Great Explosion of the Krakatau Volcano


The road to the magnetic north pole

Earth’s Magnetic Field*’s_magnetic_field

Alfred Wegener (youth resource) http://www, . . .

Plate Techtonics

Deformation & kinetics of India-Australia plate

Indo-Australian Plate*

Plate tectonics, Allan D. Griesemer,  The Earth’s Version of the Old Bump and Grind

Artists depiction of volcanic atmospheric effects

The Dutch East Indies Campaign, 1941-1942

Indonesian War of Independence 

Dutch East India Company*

How volcanoes work Geology/Krakatau 


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