Today in History: Krakatau explodes

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Today in History August 27

The most powerful volcanic eruption that has been recorded in history happened 132 years ago today, on August 27, 1883 on Krakatau (also called Krakatoa), a small, uninhabited volcanic island in Indonesia.

The explosion could be heard up to 3,000 miles away, and they threw five cubic miles of earth 50 miles up into the air. Ultimately, the explosion resulted in 120-foot tsunamis, and it ended up killing 36,000 people.

While the volcano hadn't shown any activity for quite some time, on May 20, 1883, Krakatau showed its first stirrings in more than 200 years. Residents in the area didn't realize that these stirrings were signs of impending catastrophe, so they welcomes the volcanic activity with excitement.

On August 26 and August 27, the volcano blew itself apart, therefore setting off a chain of natural disasters that left a lasting impact.

Krakatau is still an active volcano, and although this explosion was recorded as the world's biggest, with 130 active volcanoes, Indonesia has the most active volcanos of any country in the world.

See the gallery below for photos of volcanic eruptions:

volcano eruptions
See Gallery
Today in History: Krakatau explodes
In this photo taken with slow shutter speed, Mount Slamet spews hot lava from its crater as seen from Paguyangan, Central Java, Indonesia, early Sunday, May 4, 2014. Indonesia raised the alert status of the volcano to the second-highest level last week, warning that increased activity at its crater means it could erupt anytime. (AP Photo/Idhad Zakaria)
A rainbow forms over the town of Santiago Xalizintla where the Popocatepetl volcano, behind center, is covered by clouds in Mexico, Monday, July 8, 2013. The Environment Ministry has urged residents to take preventive measures to deal with the ash, including wearing dust masks, covering water supplies and staying indoors as needed. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
This Aug. 12, 2014 photo released by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a fluid lava stream within the main tube of the June 27 lava flow from the Kilauea volcano Pahoa, Hawaii. The June 27 lava flow, named for the date it began erupting from a new vent, isn't an immediate threat to homes or structures downhill of the flow, but could become one in weeks or months if it continues to advance, the U.S. Geographical Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. (AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey)
In this Friday, April 4, 2014 photo, the Tungurahua volcano spews a column of ash as seen from Ambato, Ecuador. The volcano spewed a miles high column of ash after a powerful explosion that shot pyroclastic material onto its northern and northwestern flanks. (AP Photo)
In this photo taken Wednesday Feb.26, 2014, smoke billows from the crater of Mayon volcano, one of the country's most active volcanoes, in Albay province about 550 kilometers southeast of Manila, Philippines. The volcano, famous for its near-perfect conical shape, had its last "Phreatic explosion" last year that killed five European hikers. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Mount Sinabung spews hot lava as seen from Jeraya, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Saturday night, Feb. 8, 2014. The rumbling volcano in western Indonesia continues unleashing fresh clouds of searing gas. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
In this late Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 photo, Mount Sinabung spews lava and gas during its eruption as seen from Tiga Kicat, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The volcano has been erupting since September, forcing more than 20,000 people who live around it slopes to flee their homes to several temporary shelters. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
People observe an eruption at the South East Crater of Mt. Etna from the monitoring station of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology at the Schiena dell'Asino, near Catania, in Sicily, southern Italy, early Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Mt. Etna is Europe's most active volcano at 3,350 meters (10,990 feet). (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra)
Colima Volcano spews lava Tuesday, Dec. 15, 1998, in Yerba Buena, Mexico. The volcano, which is considered the country's most active, briefly forced the evacuation of residents in nearby towns last month. Residents returned after experts said the volcano no longer posed a threat. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
This June 30, 2011 photo shows Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet, at the crater rim of the very active Nyiragongo Volcano near Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo across the border from Rwanda. (AP Photo/Lonely Planet, Timothy Churella)

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