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Soputan volcano erupts

Posted by feww on June 8, 2008

Lava from Mount Soputan flows 2 km from crater

Indonesia’s Vulcanology Survey raised alert level for Soputan volcano located on Sulawesi island to level IV, the highest level, after it began ejecting hot lava and clouds of ash. Pyroclastic flows were extending about 2 km from Mount Soputan’s summit, but haven’t reached the foot of the mountain.

The authorities placed a 6-km exclusion zone around the volcano. Climbers are not allowed in the danger zone which also covers camping areas in the eastern part of the mountain about 4 km from the summit. According to a report, 6 volcanic earthquakes struck Mount Soputan on June 6.


People from a district in Minahasa look at columns of ash spewed from Mount Soputan, in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province June 6, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

“Stronger explosion may happen, which can emit dangerous materials from the crater,” Saut Simatupang, head of Indonesia’s Vulcanology Survey said.

The volcano has been erupting since Friday, spewing ash and debris to a height of about 2 km and covering an 8-km radius area around the crater.

“There is no need to displace the villagers. The frequency of the eruption has decreased since 2 a.m. Saturday,” he said.

Although no casualties have been reported, an eye witness in the village of Molompar in the Tombatu subdistrict in Southeast Minahasa, reported that a number of houses in Lobu, Silian, and Tombatu villages had collapsed as a result of volcanic ash deposits that had accumulated on the roofs.

Mount Soputan, a stratovolcano, is one of Indonesia’s 130 or so active volcanoes, which previously erupted 24–30 October 2007. In a 2004 eruption lava extended its southwest slope, but no fatalities were reported.

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