disasters such as the December tsunami can have far-reaching effects
on human history. For instance, the 1883 volcano eruption at Krakatoa
was the first step in modern globalization, according to Simon Winchester,
recipient of the 2002 AAPG Journalism Award for his book The Map
That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology,
who spoke recently at the University of Tulsa.
also authored Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, published by
Simon and Schuster.
got a whole lot smaller as a result of this event," Winchester said.
"I often think of (Krakatoa) as being the first building block of
the global village."
As a result
of the previous establishment of the Reuters news service, the invention
of Morse Code and, most importantly, the submarine telegraph cable,
news of the eruption was received in Boston within four hours. Only
17 years earlier, news about Abraham Lincoln's assassination took
12 days to reach the entire world.
noted the effects of natural disasters on social events. The eruption
was of such magnitude, he conjectured it caused the loudest sound
recorded in history, being heard as far away as Australia, India
and Sri Lanka.
shot up 30 miles into the air from the explosion and colored the
sunset. The dust shroud caused an accompanying drop in temperature
of 1 degree Celsius, creating weather changes and the destruction
of crops all over the world.
sank it released steam as water rushed in to fill the hole created,
which was "white hot."
that followed the explosion, generated 10 miles from the shores
of Java and 12 miles from Sumatra, killed 40,000 people.
the incident may resemble the earthquake that led to the Dec. 26
tsunami, Winchester said that the two events were unrelated. Each
event was a result of movement by different tectonic plates.
of the Australian plate under the Asian plate is what caused Krakatoa,"
Winchester said. "The collision between the India plate and the
Burma micro-plate, which is to the North of Java is what caused
the Sumatra earthquake."
result of the natural disaster at Krakatoa was a Muslim uprising
against the West, Winchester said. There was already a strong movement
to convert the majority Hindu population of Java to Islam prior
to the eruption. The eruption event was interpreted and propogandized
by Muslim evangelists as a sign of displeasure from Allah towards
the Javanese for their subservience to the Dutch, he added.
suggesting there's a direct link between Krakatoa and what happened,
but it's certainly enough of a connection to be interesting, particularly
when you consider what is going on in the world today," Winchester
the Dutch were forced to leave Indonesia, the most populous Islamic
nation, Winchester said.
Krakatoa was destroyed, a "new" island (named Anak Krakatoa -- Javanese
for "son of Krakatoa) resulting from a submarine volcano that started
erupting in 1903 now exists where the old island was situated. Between
the time that Winchester first saw the "new" Krakatoa island in
1975 and the last time in 1999, it had grown in height by 500 feet.
recent tsunami, Winchester pointed out that just like 1906 (San
Francisco, earthquake and fire 3,000 dead; Colombia, earthquake,
1,000 dead; and Chile: earthquake 20,000 dead), 2004 was a very
bad year for geological havoc. In both cases, massive events followed
other geological events around the world, which suggests a correlation.
He ended his lecture by referring to a geological butterfly effect
implying that a large tectonic movement in one part of the world
would affect another one.
we knew where all the world's volcanoes were, and we knew how big
and how powerful they were for devastation. But we had no real idea
as to why they were where they were," he said.
to geologists and application of ideas such as the 1966 plate tectonics
theory we now have some answers to this question, Winchester said.