Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Ring of Fire has an average of 5 volcanic eruptions every year

The Indonesian Geology Agency has predicted five volcano eruptions for the country annually as it sits on a highly vulnerable zone, local press said Monday.

Indonesia is positioned at a zoen called "the Pacific Ring of Fire," where two continental plates meet and cause frequent seismic and volcanic movements. An estimated 129 active volcanoes spread across the sprawling archipelago and five eruptions were a reasonable estimation, reported English daily The Jakarta Post.

The country's volcanoes accounted for 13 percent of volcanoes worldwide, head of volcanology mitigation and disaster Surono was quoted as saying.

Last month, the 700-meter-high Mount Gamkonora in West Halmahera, North Maluku, unexpectedly erupted, causing thousands to temporarily flee their homes.

Agency officials Sunday remained on warning as the Papandayan volcano in Garut, West Java, and Merapi volcano in Yogyakarta were registered as being in a "cautious" status.

Another volcano, Soputan in North Sulawesi, was in a higher "alert" status.

The agency has set four levels to define the activity of Indonesia's volcanoes, including normal activity, caution, alert and dangerous.

The 2,665-meter Papandayan was put on the cautious level Thursday after the agency recorded increased seismographic activity and on the back of reports from an observation post in nearby Pangauban village.

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