Saturday, April 16, 2005

Volcano eruptions are putting 79 volcanoes on watch list

JAKARTA — As two earthquakes shook Indonesia's Java island on Friday, Indonesian seismologists placed 79 volcanoes on a "close watch" list, up from the 11.

.The New Straits Times, quoting Indonesian experts, said they fear a major eruption.
.Indonesian scientists had placed 11 volcanoes on the list on Thursday. Volcanologist Wimpy Cecep said: "There are 79 volcanoes which need to be closely watched and they are being monitored by all observation posts."

.All eyes are on Mount Tangkuban Perahu, which is located near densely-populated Bandung city and only a few hundred kilometres east of Jakarta. Next week, Bandung will host more than 50 heads of state at the Asian-African Summit.

.Ash continued to spew from Mount Tangkuban Perahu on Friday. The other volcano being watched closely is Anak Krakatau, the "child" of the legendary Krakatoa which erupted in 1883, triggering a massive tsunami which killed tens of thousands. It was being monitored after 32 tremors were recorded.

.But Mr Cecep said that judging from the activity the two volcanoes were unlikely to erupt.
.He said: "If there should be any eruptions, it would be localised. The magma and hot ash would spread around an area of two to three kilometres. If Krakatau should erupt, the magma will flow only to the edge of the sea.

."In the case of Mount Tangkuban Perahu, any heightened activity will move the magma within its crater."

.Meanwhile, there were no reports of casualties or damage as a result of the quakes on Friday.
.Measuring between 6 and 6.5 on the Richter scale, one was recorded at 11.17am (Jakarta time).
.The epicentre was in the Sunda Strait, a narrow stretch of water separating Java and Sumatra islands.

.The other tremor was recorded at 9.06am and was felt in the nearby city of Bandung.
.The epicentre was 19km south of the city.

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