Do you know how volcanic activity can cause tsunami?

You must be aware of the devastating Sunda Strait Tsunami that struck Indonesia on Sunday night, is said to be triggered by the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano.

But do you know how volcanoes can cause tsunami?

The underlying principle behind a tsunami is the displacement of a huge amount of water. Although relatively infrequent, violent volcanic eruptions represent impulsive disturbances, which can displace a great volume of water and lead to extremely destructive tsunami waves in the immediate area.

Credits: Geoscience Australia

According to this mechanism, waves may be generated by the sudden displacement of water caused by a volcanic explosion, by a volcano’s slope failure, or more likely by a phreatomagmatic explosion (in which both magmatic gases and steam from groundwater are expelled).

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One of the largest and most destructive tsunamis ever recorded was generated in August 26, 1883 after the explosion and collapse of the volcano of Krakatoa (Krakatau), in Indonesia. This explosion generated waves that reached 135 feet, destroyed coastal towns and villages along the Sunda Strait in both the islands of Java and Sumatra, killing 36, 417 people.

“It’s possible the materials around Anak Krakatau collapsed to the sea and triggered the tsunami and affected beaches around Sunda Strait,” Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) mentioned with regards to the Sunda Strait Tsunami.

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