How volcano could trigger world chaos…

Disruption of key trade routes is a well-established problem, due to crime or human error. Piracy has long bedevilled the area, but the strait, cooperatively policed by Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, is generally under control. Still, it is not uncommon for ships to collide here: 10 American sailors died as a result of the USS John McCain running into a Liberian-flagged tanker in 2017. But at 1.7 miles (2.7 km) at its narrowest, the strait is not slender enough to be blocked by an errant container ship in the way that the Suez Canal was by the 400m (1,312ft) Ever Given in 2021. The greatest menaces to the Malacca Strait, which separates the Malay Peninsula from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, lie in the natural world. Of the many intriguing maps of activity in the region, the most arresting is the one that collates the world’s active volcanoes and recent earthquakes. Along the coast of Sumatra and the more southerly part of Java, following the course of the Sunda Trench, is a band of earthquake activity, and several volcanoes.

On Java, two volcanoes, Semeru and Merapi, have recently erupted. In the Sunda Strait, which separates Java from Sumatra, is Krakatoa, …

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