Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Indonesian volcano erupts, sending ash nearly 5km into the sky

The volcano, one of two currently erupting in Indonesia, remains at alert level three, the second-highest level.

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A rumbling volcano on Indonesia’s Sumatra island shot billowing columns of hot ash kilometres into the sky, and released lava and rocks down its slopes on Wednesday.

The eruption of Mount Sinabung lasted for more than 12 minutes, a local geological agency said.

Villages near the volcano had already been relocated following previous eruptions, and there were no casualties, said Armen Putra, an official at the Sinabung monitoring post.

The AP reports that the 2,600m mountain has been rumbling since last year.

Villagers were warned to stay away while authorities were closely monitoring sensors that picked up increasing activity in recent weeks.

Indonesia’s Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said: “The eruption column is thick grey, over 4,500m high above the peak and inclined to the east and south.”

“Hot clouds” have reached as far as 1,000m south-east of the peak, it added.

An image shared by the agency showed billowing, dark smoke coming from the crater.

The volcano, one of two currently erupting in Indonesia, remains at alert level three, the second-highest level, where it has been since May 2019.

Mount Sinabung was dormant for 400 years, before erupting in 2010 and killing two people. It erupted again in 2013 and has remained highly active ever since.

Sixteen people were killed in 2014, while another seven died in an eruption in 2016.

The last eruption was in early May when ash fell on nearby villages.

Villagers have been advised to stay 5km from the crater’s mouth.

More than 30,000 people have been forced to leave their homes around the mountain in the past few years.

Sinabung is one of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, with the country sitting on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” – an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

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