The volcanic explosion of 1453 in the Vanuatu Is.

The volcanic explosion of 1453 in the Vanuatu Is.

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Credit: DAVID A. HARDY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Artwork of the giant volcanic eruption between the islands of Epi and Tongoa in the Vanuatu Islands, which are 2000km east of Australia. Epi and Tongoa formed a single island and were divided by the eruption which, according to recent findings, occurred in 1453. A submerged crater (Kuwae) was formed between the two islands and also a larger submerged landmass. About 40 cubic km of rock and dust were blown into the atmosphere causing a global change in weather conditions which were documented in many historic records of civilisations in Europe and China. The eruption was also dated by studying the composition of ice cores and the size of tree rings.

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Keywords: epi and tongoa islands, epi island, geology, historic eruption, kuwae crater, tongoa island, volcanic explosion, volcano, volcano crater

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