Curso First Certificate Exam



LECCION 31 - PAGINA 5   índice del curso   página anterior   página siguiente


Krakatoa, East of Java


ACTIVITY 220: Quickly read the article below to get the general idea and think about the disaster described here. Then, choose the most appropriate title from the menu and check the correct answer. Don't worry if there are some words you don't know: just read for a gist without using your dictionary.


In the summer of 1883, from the Sunda Straits between Java and Sumatra, the volcano of Krakatoa suddenly blew eleven cubic miles of ash and rock into the stratosphere, sending a shock wave seven times around the globe. The dying ripples of the enormous tidal wave which followed the eruption reached the English Channel, and the volcanic debris, encircling the planet, altered weather and harvest patterns around the world for years afterwards.


Within a few decades, forests and animals had returned to the tiny islands which were all that remained of Krakatoa's outer edge. Meanwhile, from the waters between them, emerged a threatening smoking rock, sometimes growing at a rate of more than three feet (about 1 metre) a month. The locals call it 'Anak Krakatau' - 'Child of Krakatoa'. It has actually raised and submerged its head five times since its first appearance in 1925, and when Lome and I reached it in September 1983 it was nearly 300 feet high and so active that the government had denied us landing permits. Under these circumstances we were obliged to reach it at night, in a small open boat crewed by two very anxious and expensive local fishermen.


We approached through floating fields of pumice produced from lava cooled in the sea which knocked against our wooden boat, and when we stepped into the water to drag the boat on to the beach, as black as the night around us, our bare feet sank into sand too hot for comfort. We began to climb slowly upwards, into a storm of ash which blocked our view of the coming dawn.


It was nearly daylight by the time we reached the summit. A few miles away, in three directions, lay the islands of Verlaten, Lang Eiland and Rakata, which were all that remained of the original volcano. Beyond them we could survey the distant coastline of Java on one side and Sumatra on the other. We could just see the point where, in that August of 1883, the Dutch administrator of south Sumatra and his family had observed the tidal wave rise 150 feet right up to the veranda of their house, pause, and withdraw again, taking some of their flowerpots, half the hillside, and the entire town with its population of 800 people. To the south, off Java, we could detect where the mouth of the Lampong river lay, where another survivor, a fisherman, had found himself struggling in a furious inrushing sea, and had seized and ridden for miles inland what he had thought was a log, but discovered to be an equally terrified crocodile.


Around and beneath us moved an oily, uneasy sea, dotted with floating stones. We had read that the temperature of the sea round here could vary suddenly by hundreds of degrees. Ships are advised to steer well clear of the islands, as the seabed is constantly moving and enormous magnetic disturbances cause compasses to swing wildly. It was these haunted waters which had swallowed up nearly all the 36,000 victims who had perished in the first explosion. A crewman in the ship Samoa, which passed through the Sunda Straits shortly afterwards, described seeing bodies and pumice stretching all the way to the horizon. Floating pumice fields were so thick that sailors could walk on them and some carried human remains 4,500 miles across the Indian Ocean to the beaches of Zanzibar.


ACTIVITY 221: Now, read the article carefully and find the words which express the explanations below. Then check your answers.


little waves  (PARAGRAPH 1):


small pieces of rock and ash produced during an eruption  (PARAGRAPH 1):


came out  (PARAGRAPH 2):


lowered below the surface  (PARAGRAPH 2):


top of a hill or mountain  (PARAGRAPH 4):


thick piece of wood  (PARAGRAPH 4):


died  (PARAGRAPH 5):

ACTIVITY 222: Finally, for questions 1-to-6, choose the answer (A, B, C or D) which you think fits best according to the article. Before looking up a word you don't understand in your dictionary, decide if you really need to know what it means. Then check your answers.


What do we learn about the eruption of Krakatoa?


A.    It was seven times stronger than any previous eruption.
B.    The sound was heard as far away as England.
C.    It was impossible to grow crops in Java for years afterwards.
D.    Most of the island where the volcano had been disappeared.


Why did the visitors approach Anak Krakatau by night?


A.    They were not supposed to be there.
B.    They had been delayed by the fishermen.
C.    It was less hot at that time.
D.    The volcano was more impressive then.


When the visitors reached the summit, they ...


A.    discovered how much of the original volcano had disappeared.
B.    thought how beautiful the view was.
C.    drew a map of the coastline of Java and Sumatra.
D.    thought about what had happened in the 1883 eruption.


Which of these phrases is understood between 'but' and 'discovered'?
(paragraph 4, last sentence)


A.    it was
B.    what he then
C.    had found himself
D.    where he


What impression of the sea do we get from the extract?


A.    It's only safe for small boats.
B.    The waves are very rough.
C.    It's better not to sail on it.
D.    You can't believe what once happened here.


The writer calls the waters 'haunted' because...


A.    very few people go there.
B.    many people died there.
C.    the seabed is always changing.
D.    the volcano is still alive.

No contarás conmigo para cruzar el Estrecho de Sunda !!! 
En la próxima página tendrás la última práctica de esta lección ...


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