Scientist Jelle Zeilinga de Boer has notably described a volcanic eruption as “the plucking of a long tight-stretched string representing time." This paper examines these longue durée impacts through eruption of Krakatau (1883). Much had been written about the disaster’s global reach through the science and art that emerged from Europe. Little attention has been paid to how the eruption energized scientific and social lives at the volcano’s epi-center, and lesser still, on how knowledge-making of volcanos depended on intersecting synergies of the global and the local. This paper addresses that gap by tracing two aspects of Krakatau’s ‘vibrating string.’ First, the local acceleration of volcanology as a field of study and collection of data from Krakatau, which helped elucidate the climatic impact of sulphuric aerosols. This insight then became entangled with global understanding of nuclear energy and its impacts. Second, we follow a rare local eyewitness account of the eruption, Syair Lampung Karam, which provoke visualizations of how global-scale disasters were intimately linked to perceived immorality. These threads converge in protests over Indonesia’s present plan for nuclear power; grounded in anxiety over unprecedented human empowerment during a time of soaring corruption. This paper’s account of the eruption—looping from local to global and short-term to long-term—attests to the continued relevance of place in demonstrating the multiple scales of space and time embedded under the rubric of the Anthropocene.