Candra Malik | October 01, 2010
Bandung. Twenty-one volcanoes across Indonesia could erupt at any time, leading to natural disasters, officials have warned.
An official from the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG) told the Jakarta Globe on Friday that the alert for 18 volcanoes had been raised from Level 1, or “normal,” to Level 2, or “beware.”
Hendrasto, the head of the PVMBG’s Volcano Observation Unit, said that three other volcanoes were on Level 3, or “standby,” just one step below full alert, or Level 4.
One of those three is Mount Sinabung in Karo district, North Sumatra, which began erupting on Aug. 29 after lying dormant for 400 years. Its last major eruption, on Sept. 7, spewed volcanic ash more than 5,000 meters into the atmosphere.
“We downgraded Sinabung from Level 4 to Level 3 on September 23,” Hendrasto said. “However, we still urge the public to remain alert for any danger.”
Most of the villagers who were evacuated after the initial eruption have since been allowed to return to their homes.
The two other volcanoes on Level 3 alert are Mount Karangetang on Siau Island in North Sulawesi and Mount Ibu on Halmahera Island in North Maluku. Karangetang is considered the most active volcano in the archipelago, with 41 major eruptions since 1675. Its last eruption, on Aug. 6, is believed to have killed four people.
Ibu, meanwhile, has experienced ongoing eruptions since April 5, 2008, feeding a lava flow down one side of the mountain.
The 18 volcanoes on Level 2 alert include Papandayan in West Java, Slamet in Yogyakarta, Merapi in Central Java and Semeru and Bromo in East Java.
“Semeru and Slamet are the highest peaks in their provinces, while Bromo is a popular tourist destination,” Hendrasto said. “Because of their popularity, we are urging the regional administrations to issue a warning advising the public of the raised alert status.”
Other volcanoes on Level 2 alert include Talang in West Sumatra, Kaba in Bengkulu, Kerinci in Jambi and Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait, between Sumatra and Java.
Anak Krakatau is the remnant of Krakatau, whose violent eruption in August 1883 killed an estimated 40,000 people and was heard up to 5,000 kilometers away.
The eruption caused tsunamis as far away as South Africa, and resulted in global temperatures dropping by more than 1 degree Celsius.
Kerinci, at 3,800 meters, is the highest peak in Sumatra and the highest volcano in the country. It is a popular destination with hikers and wildlife enthusiasts because it lies inside the Bukit Barisan National Park.
In the east of the country, the Level 2 volcanoes are Batur in Bali, Sangeang Api and Rinjani in West Nusa Tenggara, Egon and Rokatenda in East Nusa Tenggara, Soputan and Lokon in North Sulawesi, and Dukono and Gamalama in North Maluku.
“Our officials will keep monitoring these volcanoes around the clock and provide real-time updates,” Hendrasto said.
All 21 volcanoes highlighted have erupted sometime this year, and are among 59 active volcanoes across the country.
- Sinabung Update for 9/1/2010 (bigthink.com)
- Indonesian Volcano Sinabung Erupts after Four Centuries (pamil-visions.net)
- Friday Flotsam: Indonesia “ready to erupt”, cryovolcanism on Enceladus and Kamchatka keeps rolling (bigthink.com)
- Mount Sinabung Volcano in Indonesia Erupts After 400 Years: Video (nowpublic.com)
- Indonesian volcano erupts for the first time in over 400 years [Disasters] (io9.com)
- Tens of thousands flee erupting Indonesian volcano (msnbc.msn.com)
- Volcano erupts in Indonesia (cnn.com)
- more volcanoes! – Berstagi, North Sumatra, Indonesia (travelpod.com)
- Mount Sinabung Volcano Eruption Forces Indonesians Into Evacuation Camps (huffingtonpost.com)
- Indonesia volcano: Mount Sinabung erupts in Sumatra (telegraph.co.uk)