Krakatoa or Krakatau, in Indonesia, is part of the Ujung Kulon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage property, and among the most (in)famous volcanoes in the world. From a geological point of view, it is part of the Indonesian island arc system generated by the north-eastward subduction of the Indo-Australian plate (Figure 1). Krakatau is now a caldera type of volcano thanks to the 1883 eruption, one of the most destructive and deadliest volcanic events in historical records causing a total of around 36000 deaths[1, 2, 3]. During this event, up to the 70% of the original island was destroyed, leaving a caldera structure, a ‘bowl-shaped’ depression, leading to a tsunami hitting the coastlines of Java and Sumatra and conspicuous tephra falling over the nearby inhabited islands.
If you have been regularly following our blog for this (almost) past year, you may have noticed that the field of natural hazards is coloured by many different shades. One more that I would like to present you today is about how the natural environment can affect human health.
It is a recognized fact that geo-materials can pose a threat to our health. One of the most striking examples is asbestos fibres, used industrially in large scale since the mid-19th century until discovered potentially harmful and finally declared carcinogenic. The field of research that addresses this interesting subject is medical geology, and to discover a bit more about it I interviewed Dr Ines Tomašek.
Ines, a former PhD student at Durham University in the frame of the MSC ITN VERTIGO, is currently a post-doc at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and part of the International Medical Geology Association (IMGA). Her research focuses on the effect of volcanic eruptions on environmental and human health.