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Mount Sinabung Erupts

Posted by feww on August 29, 2010

Lava spewing ‘like a ball of fire’

Indonesian officials have issued a red alert after Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra began spewing lava early Sunday morning.

Villagers ride a motorcycle while covering their mouths at the district of Tanah Karo outside the city of Medan, North Sumatra, as the Mount Sinabung volcano spews smoke in the background August 28, 2010.  Credit: Reuters/Tarmizy Harva. Image may be subject to copyright.

The volcano had been spewing smoke and ash to a height of about 1.5km a.s.l. throughout Saturday, local reports said, quoting  eye witnesses who saw lava spewing out of the volcano from 7 km away.

The authorities have evacuated up to 15,000 residents living near the volcano.

Mount Sinabung is one of Indonesia’s 130  active volcanoes, and had last erupted about 400 years ago.

The head of Indonesia’s vulcanology center was quoted by Reuters as saying:

“This is the first time since 1600 that Sinabung erupted [although there are no activities recorded] and we have little knowledge in terms on its eruptive patterns and general forms.”

The conical Sinabung volcano, seen here from the east, rises above farmlands on the Kato Plateau. Gunung Sinabung contains four summit craters, the southernmost of which is the youngest. Many prominent lava flows appear on the flanks of the volcano. No confirmed historical eruptions are known from Gunung Sinabung. Photo by Tom Casadevall, 1987 (U.S. Geological Survey). Caption: GVP

Sinabung Volcano: Summary of Details

Country: Indonesia
Region: Sumatra
Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
Volcano Status: Holocene
Last Known Eruption: Unknown [1600?]
Summit Elevation: 2,460
Latitude: 3.17°N
Longitude: 98.392°E
Source: GVP

Sinabung is located in Group K Volcanoes

Map of Volcanoes.
Background Map: University of Michigan. Designed and enhanced by Fire Earth Blog. Click image to enlarge.

Sinabung volcano, seen from Gurukinayan village on the south, shows prominent lava flows on its flanks and a dramatic summit spine. The summit of Gunung Sinabung is much less frequently visited than neighboring Sabayak volcano to the NE. Photo by S. Wikartadipura, 1982 (Volcanological Survey of Indonesia). Source: GVP.

Approximate location of Sinabung is marked  on the map by FEWW.

The volcano is located about 260km east of the epicenter of the 9.1 – 9.3Mw earthquake which struck off the coast of Sumatra on December 26, 2004, triggering the deadly Boxing Day Tsunami.

Related Links:

FEWW Volcanic Activity Forecast

3 Responses to “Mount Sinabung Erupts”

  1. Mcr said

    Sinabung Erupts Again

  2. feww said

    Indonesian volcano erupts again; strongest yet

    By BINSAR BAKKARA (AP) – 1 hour ago

    TANAH KARO, Indonesia — An Indonesian volcano shot a towering cloud of black ash high into the air Tuesday, dusting villages 15 miles (25 kilometers) away in its most powerful eruption since awakening last week from four centuries of dormancy.

    Some witnesses at the foot of Mount Sinabung reported seeing an orange glow — presumably magma — in cracks along the volcano’s slopes for the first time.

    “There was a huge, thunderous sound. It sounded like hundreds of bombs going off at one,” said Ita Sitepu, 29, who was among thousands of people staying in crowded emergency shelters well away from the base. “Then everything starting shaking. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

    Mount Sinabung’s first eruption last week caught many scientists off guard. With more than 129 active volcanoes to watch in this vast archipelago, local vulcanologists had failed to monitor the long-quiet mountain for rising magma, slight uplifts in land and other signs of seismic activity.

    Indonesia is a seismically charged region because of its location on the so-called “Ring of Fire” — a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

    There are fears that current activity could foreshadow a much more destructive explosion in the coming weeks or months, though it is possible, too, that Singabung will go back to sleep after letting off steam.

    More than 30,000 people living along the volcano’s fertile slopes have been relocated to cramped refugee camps, mosques and churches in nearby villages.

    But some have insisted on returning to the danger zone to check on their homes and their dust-covered crops.

    The government sent dozens of trucks to the mountain to help carry them back before Tuesday’s eruption, which sent ash and debris shooting three miles (5,000 meters) into the air, said Surono, who heads the nation’s volcano alert center.

    “It was really terrifying,” said Anissa Siregar, 30, as she and her two children arrived at one of the makeshift camps, adding that the mountain shook violently for at least three minutes. “It just keeps getting worse.”

    Local media said ash had reached as far as Berastagi, a district 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the base of the mountain.

    Surono, who, like many Indonesians, uses only one name, said activity was definitely on the rise: There were more than 80 volcanic earthquakes in the 24-hour lead-up to the blast, compared to 50 on Friday, when ash and debris shot nearly two miles (3,000 meters).

    The eruption early Tuesday occurred just after midnight during a torrential downpour. Witnesses said volcanic ash and mud oozed down the mountain’s slopes, flooding into abandoned homes. Others said saw bursts of fire and hot ash.

    The force of the explosion could be felt five miles (eight kilometers) away.

    Indonesia has recorded some of the largest eruptions in history.

    The 1815 explosion of Mount Tambora buried the inhabitants of Sumbawa Island under searing ash, gas and rock, killing an estimated 88,000 people.

    The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa could be heard 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) away and blackened skies region-wide for months. At least 36,000 people were killed in the blast and the tsunami that followed.

    Associated Press writer Niniek Karmini contributed to this report from Jakarta.

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  3. feww said

    Sinabung Erupts Again

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