Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mud volcano is bad news for the area!

by Rich Bowden - Jun 23 2009, 05:04
Img: 2006 pic of mudflow. Credit: fragrag

Img: 2006 pic of mudflow. Credit: fragrag

Scientists observing Indonesia's infamous mud volcano in heavily-populated East Java say the eruption could continue to be active for another thirty years and threaten around 100,000 people in the area.

Geologist Mark Tingay, from Curtin University, in Western Australia said the destructive mud-spewing volcano, which last erupted in 2006 killing 14 and displacing 40,000 people.

“Early in the morning of 29 May 2006, hot mud erupted from the ground in the densely populated Porong District of Sidoarjo. With initial flow rates of around 5000 cubic metres per day, the mud quickly inundated the area,” he said.

The volcano continues to spew out 100,000 cubic metres (or 50 Olympic-sized swimming pools) of scalding hot mud each day, according to a Geological Society Australia news release.

He added the people in the surrounding villages remain threatened as the eruption gains in strength.

“Since then, the so-called Lusi eruption has increased in strength, expelling over 100,000,000 cubic metres of mud at flow-rates of up to 170,000 cubic metres per day. The mud—which is now being prevented from spreading outwards by hastily erected walls—has covered over 7 square kilometres of land at depths (so far) of up to 30 metres," he said.

He said thousands had lost their homes and warned that many more faced calamity if the eruption continues. To date the estimated cost of damage caused by the volcano is $4.9 billion.

Dr Tingay is part of an international team formed as part of the international disaster relief effort.

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