Ujung Kulon National Park
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This national park, located in the extreme south-western tip of Java on the Sunda shelf, includes the Ujung Kulon peninsula and several offshore islands and encompasses the natural reserve of Krakatoa. In addition to its natural beauty and geological interest – particularly for the study of inland volcanoes – it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforests in the Java plain. Several species of endangered plants and animals can be found there, the Javan rhinoceros being the most seriously under threat.
Early in the morning of May 20, 1883, the captain of the German warship Elizabeth reported seeing an 11-km-high cloud of ash and dust rising above the uninhabited island of Krakatau, thus documenting the first eruption from this Indonesian island in at least two centuries.
Over the ensuing two months, crews on commercial vessels and sightseers on charted ships would experience similar spectacles, all of which were associated with explosive noises and churning clouds of black to incandescent ash and pumice.
From a distance, the largest of these natural fanfares impressed the local inhabitants on the coastal plains of Java and Sumatra, creating a near-festive environment. Little did they realize, however, that these awe-inspiring displays were only a prelude to one of the largest eruptions in historic times.
|A series of cataclysmic explosions began at mid-day on
August 26, and ended on August 27 with a stupendous paroxysmal
On this day, the northern two-thirds of the island collapsed beneath the sea, generating a series of devastating pyroclastic flows and immense tsunamis that ravaged adjacent coastlines. The events that began on August 26 would mark the last 24 hours on earth for over 36,000 people, and the destruction of hundreds of coastal villages and towns.
Since the disappearance of Krakatau, smaller eruptions have been observed. The ocean floor has been since gradually rising, eventually giving birth in 1927 to a new island, north of what remains of Rakata. Today, Anak Krakatau (Son of Krakatau) rises more than 150 m above sea level and is two km in diameter.
Sources and links:
Other World Heritage Sites in Indonesia (on this site). Inactive links are not described on postage stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Indonesia for further information about the individual properties.
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Revised 21 jul 2006