Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung spewed a column of ash and smoke approximately 5 000 metres into the sky on Monday 10 August 2020. It’s the second eruption in three days to plunge local communities into darkness.
Volcanic ash is dispersed towards the west and causes large ashfall onto the volcano’s slopes and resident area. The warning bulletin states that ballistic impacts of volcanic bombs and pyroclastic flows could affect an area of about 3 km distance from the main crater and 5 km on the SE flank and 4 km on the NE flank.
Volcanic eruption: Mount Sinabung in Indonesia
A thick layer of ash and debris settled on surrounding areas. This follows four years after one of Sinabung’s largest and most deadly eruptions back in 2016 when seven people lost their lives. According to reports, Sinabung has been rumbling since 2010.
Prior to that, the volcano was inactive for 400 years. After the first rumble in 2010, the volcano was inactive again for three years. Volcanic activity was recorded again in 2013, and Sinabung erupted in 2014, killing 16.
Following the first eruptions last week, locals have been told to stay at least three miles (1.86km) away from the crater’s mouth. In addition, residents have also been warned of the dangers of flowing lava.
Watch: Ash cloud after Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung erupted
At the time of publishing, there were no reports of injuries or deaths, but Armen Putera, a local official at Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre, said that the alert status remains and everyone should avoid red-zone areas.
Rencana Sitepu, the head of Namanteran village nearby, told AFP that seeing the eruption was “like magic”. Sadly, the village’s crops were destroyed by the fallout following the eruption.
“It was like magic; when the ash came it went from being very bright to dark as night. The village went dark for about 20 minutes.”
The volcanic eruption complicated COVID-19 protocol as well. Residents who rushed to safety after the eruption gathered in groups, but didn’t have time to grab face masks.
Indonesia is home to about 130 active volcanoes due to its position on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where frequent seismic activity occurs.
Watch: Why Indonesia has such threatening volcanoes
Quotes from AFP