This widely watched video claims to be audio from the infamous Krakatoa explosion. Is it authentic?

  • 4
    It almost certainly is not legit, but how do you prove a negative? The inferred loudness of the Krakatoa eruption was determined from barometer readings hundreds of kilometers from the site of the eruption. Barometers are not sound recording devices, and the sound recording devices of 1883 were rather primitive and extremely rare. Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 13:37
  • 4
    Quoting a comment from the video: For anybody wondering how this sound exists, they would have had to have taken the seismic recording made (on paper) at the time and replotted the same wave into an audio player Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 22:03
  • @BernhardDöbler does that work? Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 1:09
  • It should work, it’s essentially the same thing as a microphone. Recording vibrations through a medium. If the video is a result of that is a different thing though.
    – Topcode
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 14:15
  • 6
    Reconstructing audio from the recording of a seismic wave plot is not possible. Seismic waves have a very low frequency, barely ranging into the audible spectrum and perhaps except for in intensity, do not correlate with the sound. More realisticly would be to try to reconstruct audio from barometric recordings, which also were common at that time, but barometric recording devices do not have the necessary bandwidth to reconstruct audio. Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 9:36

1 Answer 1


No, it's not authentic.

Simon Winchester discusses in depth the explosion in his book "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883", and there are absolutely no records of any form of equipment recording audio — much less video.

Could there have happened to be some kind of gramophone nearby that happened to be recording and happened to capture some oblique aspects fo the sound? Possibly, but highly unlikely.

The technology was only 5 years old in 1883 — and exceptionally expensive still.

Indonesia also wasn't exactly a hub for new technology in the 1880s — the latest tech known to be in the country was the telegraph (itself a 40-year-old invention, but that only had been in-country for a few years as part of the Reuters news service (per Winchester's book)).

  • Did he assert that there was none? Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 19:46
  • Why the focus on Indonesia? The sound travelled further than that.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 14:06
  • @Abdullah - he does assert there were no records other than barometer readings and human accounts
    – warren
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 16:55
  • 1
    @Oddthinking - the sound did travel further ... but the only places downrange of the blast was ocean (or even less-inhabited islands). There are accounts of people a mile away from the blast who heard [nearly] nothing because they were in the wrong direction (likewise with Mt St Helens in 1980 - the most famous video of the event was far quieter than it "should" have been, because of the aim of the blast)
    – warren
    Commented Dec 18, 2021 at 16:56

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