23 December 2018

Where to find information about the Krakatau collapse and tsunami

Posted by Jessica Ball

A September 24, 2018 photograph of a Krakatau eruption plume taken by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst. (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92806/activity-at-krakatau)

As yesterday was my blogiversary, I was planning to write a reflective post about what I’ve accomplished (or not) in the past year. However, with the recent events in Indonesia, I decided to hold off on the introspective and use my platform to help direct people to factual information about Krakatau and the landslide and eruptions it’s experienced in the past several days.

A note to the news media: As a USGS employee, I am officially on furlough due to the government shutdown and am not allowed to answer questions in my official capacity (which, unfortunately, includes expertise on volcanic landslides). I’ll be listing a group of trusted volcanology sources and communicators here, so please contact them instead!

News and Websites

To start, Robin Andrews has written an excellent summary of what we actually know about the activity so far, and will be updating it as new information becomes available (22 December): https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinandrews/2018/12/22/indonesias-krakatoa-just-made-a-deadly-tsunami-heres-everything-you-need-to-know/#183084fb4c3e

As has Erik Klemetti (23 December): http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/rockyplanet/2018/12/23/surprise-tsunami-hits-indonesia-killing-hundreds/#.XB-4WVxKhPY


Another article from Robin Andrews about the increase in alert level at Anak Krakatau (27 December): https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinandrews/2018/12/27/anak-krakataus-alert-level-has-been-raised-heres-what-that-means/#2910d1646471

Here is an excellent radar image comparison courtesy of the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI), hat tip to Greg (25 December): http://www.gsi.go.jp/cais/topic181225-index-e.html

ASEAN Report on the tsunami, from a website about natural hazards & disaster monitoring and response in Indonesia (hat tip to Mutiara) (22 December): http://adinet.ahacentre.org/reports/view/1383


MAGMA Indonesia is the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (Centre of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, PVMBG)’s application for issuing alerts and information about eruptions, although it will require translation: https://magma.vsi.esdm.go.id/

Indonesia’s Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral Republik (Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources) Media Center for the (some English, but news releases require translation): https://www.esdm.go.id/

Indonesia’s Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure): https://bnpb.go.id/

The Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program has basic information about Krakatau and its recent activity: https://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=262000

US Tsunami Warning Centers (issue alerts for tsunamis worldwide): https://www.tsunami.gov/

Indonesian Twitter sources
  • MAGMA Indonesia: @id_magma
  • Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesperson for Indonesia’s natural disaster management agency BNPG Indonesia: @Sutopo_PN
  • BNPB Indonesia: @BNPB_Indonesia

(Some) volcanologists on Twitter who are talking about the eruption/tsunami (in no particular order)

Most of all, please remember that if the news is coming from an established, dependable news organization (AP, Reuters, AFP) or outlet (BBC or the Guardian for English-speakers), there’s a good chance that it has been received from official and reliable sources, vetted, and fact-checked. Tabloids (especially of the UK variety) and popular science websites are NOT good places to look for updates, as they will often post fearmongering, misinterpreted or false claims simply to get clicks and attention. If you’re looking for factual updates, try one of the sources I’ve listed, listen when they redirect you to other sources (it is the holiday season and many people may be unavailable), and take ‘breaking’ information with a grain of salt.

Please leave a comment if there are helpful sources of information that I’ve left out, and I’ll be happy to add them. And if you’re in the region, you have my best wishes for your safety during this crisis. Please take care of yourselves!