Volcanic Activity Up in Several Locations
Solo, Central Java. As two volcanos in the eastern part of Indonesia continued to erupt on Monday, Mount Merapi in Central Java has been displaying increasing activity, with rumblings in the past week.
“In the evenings, there are rumblings that are accompanied by the ground shaking,” Sapto, from Samiran village in the district of Boyolali on the slope of Merapi, said on Monday.
He said that the 2,968-meter volcano was also active during the day, as evidenced by the thick column of ash billowing out from its crater.
Sapto said that as of Monday, local authorities had not issued any information to the public regarding the volcano.
Subiso, head of Selo subdistrict in Boyolali, confirmed that no official advisories or warnings had been issued yet about the increased activity on Merapi.
However, he said that the rumbling sounds from the volcano were almost routine in the area, and added that the situation there “is still safe.”
Ngatini, another resident said that the rumblings did not disturb local residents too much.
“If an eruption is imminent, the rumbling will be heard continuously and there will be some ash rain,” she said.
Merapi last erupted in October 2010, spewing enormous amounts of ash. Pyroclastic flows, fast-moving currents of superheated gas and rock, killed more than 300 people along the heavily populated slopes and forced 350,000 to evacuate.
Meanwhile, with a small eruption still taking place on Mount Lokon in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, authorities there are maintaining the alert status for the volcano and have banned all human activities within a 2.5-kilometer radius of the crater.
Farid Sukendar, head of the Lokon volcano observation post, said that the mountain erupted after dusk on Saturday, spewing superheated volcanic material up to 600 meters and ash up to 1,500 meters into the atmosphere.
“This volcano is active and therefore we should remain vigilant because it could erupt any time,” he said.
Arnold Poli, secretary of the town of Tomohon, located at the base of the mountain, said that the authorities were continuously monitoring the volcano. He said that the series of eruptions had not affected the activities of the local population but added the authorities were calling on everyone to remain alert.
He also said that despite the volcanic activity, the government had yet to evacuate anyone from the villages of Kinilow and Kakaskasen III, the two villages closest to the smoldering crater.
“No one has yet been ordered to evacuate,” he said.
Mount Soputan, in North Sulawesi’s South Minahasa district, and Mount Karangetang in the Sitaro Islands district across from the northernmost tip of Sulawesi remained on a government-ordered standby alert status, or just one rung below the most severe alert.
“There are now three volcanoes in North Sulawesi under the standby alert status,” said Hooke Makarawung, head of the North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD).
“People should remain vigilant.”
He said that about 110 people had been evacuated from the slopes of Karangetang and that the North Sulawesi administration had sent relief supplies to them.
Djauhari Kansil, the deputy governor of North Sulawesi, said that those evacuated were from East Siau subdistrict, but he added that in the daytime, the people were allowed to return to their village to work their fields.
They have been asked to return to the shelters in the evening.
The volcanology office also announced on Monday that it had raised the alert level for Mount Gamalama, on Ternate Island in North Maluku province, to standby.
The office, on its website, said that the alert status was raised on Sunday.
The site offered no further details.
The 1,715-meter Gamalama, a conical volcano that dominates Ternate Island, last erupted in December, destroying more than 100 houses and leaving farmers devastated after a thick layer of ash smothered fruit trees and crops.
Four villagers were confirmed dead in that eruption.
Metro TV reported on Monday that the mountain spewed a white column of ash about 500 meters into the atmosphere.
There was also some volcanic debris thrown up by the mountain but on a smaller scale.
It also said the local volcanology authorities had declared a 2.5-kilometer exclusion radius around the crater of the erupting volcano.
On Sunday evening, the smoke and volcanic debris thrown up by Gamalama reached about 1,000 meters into the atmosphere, according to the report.
Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra also showed some signs of activity earlier this month. The volcano is the remnant of Krakatau, the site of an earth-shattering eruption in 1883.