1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How much energy does it take to Sink an Island?

  1. May 14, 2012 #1
    Lets say that this is hypothetically possible;How much energy would be required to sink an Island the size of Palau(191 square miles)?

    Could this be calculated in Joules?

    What if a volcanic eruption was capable of doing this how much energy would it take to sink an Island of this size.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2012 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Islands aren't floating on water...
  4. May 14, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    so true!

    it would be more correct in saying ... how much energy it takes to destroy an island

    you need to look no further than the once existing island of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatera, Indonesia. In 1883 the eruption of the volcano pretty much totally destroyed the island leaving a huge undersea cauldera. Volcanic rebuilding had continued and now we have Anak Krakatau or son (child) of Krakatoa. Its also quite a violent volcano.
    The 1883 eruption was huge some 20+ cubic km of material was ejected and the booms of the explosion were heard over 3000km away.

    OK after some amount of link following, I found this in wiki....
    8×10^17 J = estimated energy released by the eruption of the Indonesian volcano, Krakatoa, in 1883
    and to put that into perspective....
    2.1×10^17 J = yield of the Tsar Bomb, the largest nuclear weapon ever tested (50 megatons)

    this guy wrote a good book on the eruption, I read it some years back
    not only did he look at the volcano itself but took it into historical context with the local population etc.

    Winchester, Simon (2003). Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-621285-5.

    there are many other references on the www, and surely some one has written about the equivelent amounts of energy released say compared to large nuclear bombs etc

    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  5. May 14, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    promeus, you'll have to be more clear. You can't sink an island, unless you literally want to drive it into the Earth's crust. You'd need a few million years. (Mountains sink, but it takes long time).
  6. May 14, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

    this thread almost belongs in the Earth section of the other sciences forum.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook