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Sumatra: thousands flee as Sinabung erupts 29 August 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Indonesia, Sinabung.

Mount Sinabung volcano on Sumatra erupted shortly after midnight local time on 29 August 2010, producing lava and throwing ash 1500 metres above the summit. Local inhabitants fleeing their homes have spoken of ‘thick black smoke, small stones and sulphur’ being produced by the volcano, according to AFP: one local man reportedly died as a result of breathing difficulties suffered during the eruption.

The volcano had been showing signs of activity, rumbling and venting ash, during the 24 hours preceding the eruption: Radio New Zealand reports that ‘it was initially thought that the ash and smoke [sic] were triggered by rain, but when it became clear the driving pressure was from magma, the alert was raised to the highest level’. When the volcano erupted it appears to have taken local communities and the authorities by surprise. BBC News, quoting Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency, reports that 10,000 people have been evacuated from the surrounding area. According to AFP, ashfall is occurring up to 30 kilometres from the volcano, with local farmers reporting that ash has been deposited on their fields.

Mount Sinabung is a 2460-metre stratovolcano in northern Sumatra, about 60 km SW of the city of Medan. An uncertain eruption is given by the Global Volcanism Program for 1881 and sulphurous gas emissions were apparently reported from the summit in 1912, but there are no historical records of confirmed eruptive activity.

UPDATE. A second eruption is reported to have occurred at around 06:30 local time on 30 August 2010.

Thousands flee as Indonesia volcano erupts – AFP, 29 August 2010
Indonesia on red alert as Sumatran volcano erupts – Radio New Zealand, 29 August 2010
Thousands flee Indonesia volcano on Sumatra – BBC News, 29 August 2010
Volcano erupts on Indonesia’s Sumatra after 400 yrs – Reuters, 29 August 2010
Volcano erupts in IndonesiaSydney Morning Herald, 29 August 2010

Global Volcanism Program: Sinabung – summary information for Sinabung (0601-08=)
Volcanological Survey of Indonesia – News and information portal for the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (site often down)

The Volcanism Blog


1. Beano - 29 August 2010

Sinabung has been emitting sulphuric fumes for hundreds of years. The locals at one stage were mining the sulphur itself.
Sinabung has a brother not far away – Sibayak. Both of these volcanos may have had some activity in 1881. Both of these volcanos are not very far away from Toba.

The locals have been in fear of just such an eruption since the December 2004 and May 2005 events. The local indigenous people have a written history. They have their own dialects and written script.

Here are some images from a few years back.



2. Beano - 29 August 2010

Sorry Sibayak image

3. bram - 29 August 2010

Aardige foto, van 2 vulkanen

4. Pat Donnelly - 30 August 2010





5. Pat Donnelly - 30 August 2010

As the earth expands, the source of the Toba Hypervulcanism may have realigned itself over what may have been 70,000 years.

Interesting times.

Somewhat shocked to see no comment on the recent activity of the other known Super Volcano, Yellowstone!

All this activity is apparently to be expected, given the probable minimum conditions on the surface of our local star…….. which may continue for decades……..

I see famine and pestilence in our future, possibly after some very large detonations that will make the Aceh mistake look tiny!

High ground, anyone?

6. admin - 30 August 2010

Thanks for the pictures and the further information on Sinabung, Beano.

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