Sunday, June 14, 2009

Indonesia may face eruptive summer

One of Indonesia's most active volcanos is threatening to erupt, officials said Monday, as they ordered residents in nearby villages to leave.

The alert status of Mount Karangetang was raised to the highest level after it started spewing lava and hot ash hundreds of yards (meters) into the air, said state geologist Surono, who goes by only one name.

Local authorities were helping move villagers living near its base to safety, he said.

The 5,853-foot (1,784-meter) volcano on Siau, part of the Sulawesi island chain, last showed signs of intense activity in July 2006, when 4,000 people were evacuated.

It has spit out ash and lava several times since then, but no serious injuries have been reported.

The last deadly eruption was in 1992, when six villagers were killed.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is located on the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

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