Saturday, October 27, 2007

Volcano eruption in Indonesia caused no damages or injuries

A volcano on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has erupted, spewing a column of smoke and ash high into the air. But, officials say the activity at Mount Soputan does not present a threat to people living nearby. Meanwhile, villagers near Mount Kelud on Java island remain on alert for an eruption there. Trish Anderton reports from Jakarta.

All eyes have been on Java's Mount Kelud for the past two weeks, but it was Mount Soputan on the northern tip of Sulawesi that blew its top instead. Authorities say the volcano shot ash a thousand meters into the air, but no lava flowed from the mountain. Authorities say they are not planning to order an evacuation.

Agus Budianto of Indonesia's Centre for Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation says his agency is advising people to avoid breathing the ash directly.

"I think it is not so dangerous right now but we recommend for the population to use a mask, if possible," he said.

The nearest village to Soputan is a relatively distant 11 kilometers from the peak. Some of Java's most dangerous volcanoes, including Mount Kelud, have populations much closer to their craters.
Budianto says scientists are continuing to monitor Soputan, but they do not expect a larger eruption.

"If the volcanic tremors happen continuously perhaps the eruption will occur," he said. "But there are no indications for that."

Meanwhile, authorities are keeping a close watch on Kelud, where a high alert has been in effect for several days. Local authorities have ordered more than 100,000 people evacuated from a 10-kilometer radius of the crater. But some residents are defying the order, saying they cannot leave their homes and farms unattended. About 5,000 people were killed when the volcano erupted in 1919.

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common in Indonesia, which is located in a geologically active area known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Police evacuates volcano slopes in Indonesia as eruption is near

ARMED police today forced Indonesian villagers to evacuate plains surrounding a volcano that experts believe is poised to erupt, as aid workers braced for a potential disaster.

Mount Kelut, a 1731m peak about 90km from Indonesia's second largest city of Surabaya on the island of Java, was put on red alert on Tuesday amid fears it was about to blow.

Some 116,000 villagers were evacuated from the fertile land around its slopes, but many have defied local officials' orders to stay away, instead returning home to tend their farms and to protect them from possible looting.

Asked by reporters to confirm whether police had threatened villagers with guns to get them to leave a 10km danger zone around the peak, local police chief Tjuk Basuki said: "Yes, some individual officers did so, but we wouldn't get into any physical contact."

"This is for their own good. The volcano is at a dangerous stage," he added.

He did not say how many villagers were forced to leave, but many insisted on staying put.

About 350 residents at Kampung Anyar, a village 8km from the crater, said they did not want to leave their homes and they had their own way to protect themselves.

"When Kelut erupts, we will all stay in our homes and not talk, not turn on the lights, or candles or even a single match until the next daybreak," Mr Sugeng, 45, said.

The village was built by survivors of the 1990 volcano eruption that spewed so-called "heat clouds" – searing gas containing ash and volcanic debris – down its slopes.

"The two villages were too close to the crater, so we moved here," he said.

Kristanto, the chief volcanologist at the monitoring station at Kelut, said that he believed head clouds, also known as pyroclastic flows, would erupt this time in a manner similar to the ones in 1990.

"I predict that this time, it will be the same," he said.

The elderly warden of the volcano, Mbah Ronggo, evacuated to a safety shelter overnight but returned home today.

"Actually I didn't want to come down but police asked me to do so for safety reasons. In my opinion, evacuation for the time being is unnecessary," he said before he returned to the slopes to tend his farm.

The World Health Organisation and Indonesian officials mobilised 100 medical professionals, placed 200 health facilities on alert and established 41 outreach health posts in anticipation of the eruption, the UN said.

Emergency health kits, masks and other essential equipment have also been prepared, the world body added.

Separately, a so-called "mud volcano" 68km northeast of Kelut has increased its flow to about 130,000 cubic metres per day amid the rising seismic activity in the area, Soffian Hadi Djojopranoto, deputy head of a Government team monitoring the mud volcano, said.

The mud began spurting at an exploratory gas drill in May last year and the company operating it has been blamed.

But the company insists a major quake that struck the Java city of Yogyakarta just beforehand was the trigger.

Officials said in September that the flow increased then from 70,000 cubic metres a day to 100,000.

"We have no reference to forecast what will happen if Mount Kelut erupts," Djojopranoto warned.
More than 15,000 lives have been claimed since record-keeping began of Mount Kelut's eruptions, including an estimated 10,000 in a catastrophic 1586 eruption.

A 1919 eruption spewed heat clouds that killed 5160 people. The last eruption in 1990 left 34 people dead.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bulusan volcano comes back to life!

Officials on Tuesday ordered the evacuation of residents near Mount Bulusan as heavy rains triggered lahar flow from the volcano.Henry Imperial, senior science research assistant of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), said barangays Cogon and Monbon in Irosin town are affected by the lahar flow.

He said the lahar was only flowing to river channels.A radio DZMM report, meanwhile, said a team of volcano experts led by Bella Tubianosa, head of PHIVOLCS-Sorsogon, has been dispatched to the area to inspect the lahar flow.PHIVOLCS said Bulusan remained restive and have shown abnormal activities in the last 24 hours.As of 3:45 p.m. Monday, PHIVOLCS said the volcano had a phreatic explosion that created an ash column that went as high as 150 meters from the crater ring.

Phreatic explosions are described as steam-blast eruptions driven by explosive expanding steam resulting from cold ground or surface water coming into contact with hot rock or magma. PHIVOLCS hoisted Alert level 1 in the area, barring residents from entering the four-kilometer permanent danger zone of the volcano.

Kamchatka volcano threatens residents with volcano eruption

The Kamchatka volcano Shiveluch located in the north of the peninsula intensifies its activity and threatens with new heavy eruption.

According to RIA Sever DV, lately the volcano Shiveluch activity has increased and a heavy eruption is supposed to occur; it is supposed to be as heavy as the eruption in 2005, when the burning hot lava stream about a kilometer wide and 25 kilometers long erupted from Shiveluch and rushed down its slopes burning everything on its way.

The seismic stations have already registered more than 400 local earthquakes near the volcano. The scientists suppose that some seismic events were accompanied with emissions of gas and ash about four kilometers high.

The eruption of the volcano, 3,3 thousand meters high, began in December, 2006. The massive gas and ash columns rise above its crater from time to time. The volcano is not dangerous for the nearby settlements of the peninsula; however the emissions of ash threaten the aircrafts and melting snow sometimes causes avalanching onto the Kamchatka Territory roads.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Indonesia gets ready to face possible volcano eruption

Villagers living near Indonesia’s Mount Kelud volcano in East Java province are bracing for a possible eruption.

News reports Sunday said many people have evacuated their homes near the mountain, which has shown signs of increasing activity in recent days. Locals are relying on dams in area water sources to protect their homes from lava, floods, and the flow of debris.

A 1919 eruption killed some 5,000 people, mostly by mudflow. The most recent eruption was in 1990.

Historical volcanic eruption is linked to Canary Island's National Park

The Timanfaya National Park is one of four on the Canary IslandsDeclared a National Park in 1974, the Parque Nacional de Timanfaya covers an area of 5,107 hectares on the island of Lanzarote, and is one of four National Parks in the Canary Islands.

This natural space is the land of volcanoes, Las Montañas del Fuego, or the Fire Mountains, which were born in the 18th century when more than 100 volcanoes rose up from the earth over six years of devastating eruptions which affected a quarter of the island’s surface. The ash and lava which continued to rain down between 1730 and 1736 buried eleven villages, in one of the world’s most devastating volcanic eruptions: scientists estimate that the volume of lava could have reached up to one cubic kilometre – in other words, 1,000 million m3.

Those six long years, and later eruptions which hit the island in 1824, transformed what were once fertile lands into the lunar landscape that is still seen here today, surprising colourful with its different hues of ochre and grey, deepening to dramatic reds and blacks.While the volcanoes are considered dormant today, there are a number of hot springs and geysers in the area, with temperatures just a few metres below the surface reaching as much as 600 oC in some places: water poured into bore holes will erupt as steam in a matter of seconds.

There is little evidence of plant or wild life amongst these dramatic volcanic cones and the arid fields of lava. Timanfaya is, however, despite the scarcity of rainfall, home to more than 100 species of lichen, 15 of moss, and five species of algae, with the lichen found on the more recent lava evidence that life is returning to these desolate lands.

There are close to 200 of the higher species of flora recorded in Timanfaya, including three endemic to Lanzarote, which survived the eruptions on the ‘islotes,’ the islets, which were untouched by the flow of lava and which served as a base to colonise other parts of the land. While there is an abundance of invertebrate fauna here, vertebrate fauna is relatively scarce. It includes the Atlantic Lizard – a species endemic to the Island - and the Canary Island Wall Gecko, with three species of mammal: rabbit, the black rat and the native Canary Shrew.

Some 20 species of bird winter in the park, with more than 100 species of invertebrate sea life and 100 species of fish found on its coast.Declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1993 along with the rest of the island, photographs of this volcanic landscape were shown to the first astronauts to prepare them for the moon. It also starred, along with Raquel Welch, in the film ‘One Million Years B.C.’

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Volcanic activity alarms Indonesians!

Hundreds of Indonesians have begun evacuating the slopes of a rumbling volcano in East Java following increased levels of toxic fumes and tremors, a local rescue official said on Thursday.The country's volcanological survey raised Mount Kelud's alert status to the second-highest level on Sunday, following increased activity.

A mix of carbon dioxide and toxic substances seven times normal levels has been recorded from the volcano in recent days, prompting authorities to isolate the area, said Saut Simatupang, head of the survey's volcano observation unit."We have advised everyone to stay away within a radius of 5 km (3 miles) from the volcano in anticipation of an eruption that could take place any moment," Simatupang told Reuters."We have reason to believe that the magma is very close to the crater's surface."

About 100,000 people, mostly farmers, live on the slopes of Mount Kelud which lies about 90 km (55 miles) southwest of Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.Many people in villages nearest to the crater, located on the borders of the safe zone, have already left their homes, local rescue official Dedi Sandriya told Reuters."Yes, we are afraid. But amid the fear we are prepared to leave, to save ourselves and save the people," Sandriya said.Plantation worker Turmudi, like many of his fellow villagers, keeps a cardboard box with important survival items at his bedside.

He is ready to leave anytime."I have already sent my family to live with my relatives in another town. Personally, I am afraid to stay the night," said Turmudi, who like most Indonesians goes by one name. But both Sandriya and Simatupang said official evacuation would not take place until the 1,731-metre (5,712-foot) volcano's alert status is raised to the maximum."Once there are stronger, more frequent tremors we will raise Mount Kelud's alert status," Simatupamg said from his office in Bandung.

A 1919 eruption of Mount Kelud caused the lake in its crater to burst through the volcano rim and sent boiling water down its slopes, killing 5,000 people in 104 villages.Indonesia has the highest number of active volcanoes of any country, sitting on a belt of intense seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Russian volcano spews ashes

One of the most active volcanoes at Kamchatka - Shiveluch - threw out ashes, the loop of which stretched 20km to the west and to the south-west.

According to the Kamchatka branch of the Geophysical service of RAS, in one day over 300 local earthquakes were registered at the volcano. The most powerful of them could be accompanied by emission of ashes from the crater to the height up to 4,6km over the sea level, scientists think.
The thermal anomaly, the temperature of which was 38,6 degrees above zero on Celsius with ambient temperature minus 18 degrees, is registered on the volcano. Seismic stations register continuous spasmodic volcanic trembling.

Shiveluch is one of the most active volcanoes of Kamchatka. Its eruptions have "explosive character." The last eruption of the giant, related by scientists to the category of accidents, happened in 1964. Then the destruction of the lava dome happened and the giant threw out over 1 cubic kilometer of volcanic material.

The volcano started showing activity 20 years after those events. Emissions of ashes from its crater are registered 1-2 times a year. In April of 1993 the giant threw out a column to the height of up to 15 km. In February of 2005 a large cloud of ashes, thrown out by Shiveluch, was carried 700km away from the crater.

Processes, happening on the volcano during last decades, are similar to those, which happened from 1854 to 1964 - during the period between the most powerful eruptions, scientists think. By analogy it is possible to assume that in an interval of 100 years from last powerful explosion in the crater of the giant, a new one will happen. Specialists who watch the behavior of the giant with the height of 3 thousand 283 meters above the sea level say that "no less than ten of such explosions happened in 1,5 thousand years," - ITAR-TASS reports.

Volcano eruption near Yemen

A volcano has erupted on a tiny island off the coast of Yemen, spewing lava and ash hundreds of feet into the air, a Canadian naval vessel near the island in the Red Sea reported Sunday. There were no immediate reports of deaths, but at least eight people were missing.

The Yemeni government asked NATO to assist in searching for survivors on Jabal al-Tair island, which lacks a settled population but includes military installations.The Yemeni news agency SABA confirmed the eruption and said a military garrison on the island is being evacuated. It wasn't clear how many people were stationed on the island, which is used for naval control and observation because large cargo ships pass nearby.

Ken Allan, a Navy spokesman, said a NATO fleet just outside the territorial waters of the island reported seeing a "catastrophic volcanic eruption" at 7 p.m. local time. The two-mile-long island is about 70 miles off the coast of Yemen."At this time, the entire island is aglow with lava and magma as it pours down into the sea. We do not have confirmation of how many people were on this island at the time of the eruption," Allan said in an e-mail.

"The lava is spewing hundreds of feet into the air, with the volcanic ash also (rising) a thousand feet in the air," Allan said.The Canadian Armed Forces said they are trying to locate nine people believed to be at sea after the Yemen coast guard requested help. SABA reported that the Yemeni government said eight people were missing. It is unclear why there was a discrepancy or if the reports were even talking about the same people.

The NATO fleet was sailing toward the Suez Canal when it spotted the eruption. The government of Yemen asked NATO to assist in the search for survivors and the closet ship, the HMCS Toronto, is heading toward the island.Yemen is a poor tribal Sunni Muslim country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Indonesian Island is on alert due to possible volcano eruption

Indonesian scientists stepped up the alert level for a volcano in East Java and told people to stay away from the crater amid fears it is building up to an eruption.

The vulcanology office website says the alert for Mount Kelut has been raised to the third of a four-level warning system.

The alert is based on recordings of increased seismic activity as well as rising temperatures in the crater lake and the shifting chemical composition of the water.

The office advised people to maintain a five-kilometre safety zone around the crater of Mount Kelut and told residents to be prepared to evacuate at the first sign of any eruption.

The alert status had already been raised one step on September 11.

Although its slopes are sparsely inhabited, the peak is a popular domestic tourist destination and is located on a densely-populated plain.

The 1,731-metre volcano last blew in 1990.

It has claimed more than 15,000 lives since 1500, including around 10,000 when it erupted in 1568.

The vulcanology office says that between September 26 and 29, 54 volcanic earthquakes and nine tectonic temblors had been recorded, and signs were that their epicentre was moving closer to the surface.

The office says the lake on top of the volcano has changed from its habitual greenish aspect into milky white, and gas is coming out.

Two people were injured by volcano eruption

New Zealand’s Mount Ruapehu erupted without warning Tuesday night, and at least two people were reported to be injured as volcanic mudflows swept down the mountain.

Civil defense officials ordered skiing areas evacuated and police closed roads in the area, including the North Island’s main state highway and railway line, which run near the foot of the 2.797-metre high mountain.

Local media reported that the eruption lasted seven minutes and a mountaineer and a worker on a snow groomer had been injured.

It was not known how many people were staying in huts situated at the foot of the mountain.

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