the 1883 explosion of Krakatoa

History  In 1888, the Royal Society set up a committee to investigate the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa and the aftermath.  The resulting report is inevitably available at the internet archive and makes for disturbing reading (from what I've seen of its six hundred odd pages), perhaps the most interesting aspect being the language utilised which almost seems to criticise those at the heart of the disaster for their observational skills:
"As IS usual in such cases, the first reports of this tremendous outburst of the volcanic forces appear to have been quite misleading and altogether unworthy of credence. Nor is this to be wondered at. The towns and villages along the shores of the Sunda Strait were, during the crisis of the eruption, enveloped in a terrible darkness, which lasted for many hours, and, while thus obscured, were overwhelmed by a succession of great sea- waves ; those who succeeded in saving their lives amid these appalling incidents were, it need scarcely be added, not in a position to make trustworthy observations upon the wonderful succession of phenomena occurring around them."
Of course, that's not what they mean. What they mean is there were better things to be doing than standing around taking notes. But it's a useful example of how language and implication can develop over time.  The book is also filled with some extraordinary drawings of events.

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