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Mount Semeru erupts 6 March 2009

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The news from Indonesia is that Mount Semeru on Java erupted early today. The volcano apparently erupted shortly after midnight, ‘spewing smoke and ash high into the sky and coating a nearby town in black dust’. Recent heavy rains and the direction of the wind restricted the impact of ashfall. No evacuation has been ordered but volcanologists are monitoring the volcano closely ‘for signs of lethal heat clouds’ – the term often used in Indonesia for pyroclastic flows.

Semeru is the highest volcano in Java (3676m) and one of the most active: the Global Volcanism Program observes that ‘Semeru has been in almost continuous eruption since 1967’.

UPDATE: The Indonesian volcanological authorities have raised the alert level at Semeru to the second highest level of ‘siaga’ or orange (the Reuters India report cited below incorrectly reports it as the ‘maximum’ level).

[Thanks to the Eruptions blog for picking this one up.]

News
Volcano erupts in IndonesiaStraits Times, 6 March 2009
Indonesia’s Semeru volcano eruptsPhilippine Star, 6 March 2009
Indonesia raises alert on volcano in east Java – Reuters India, 7 March 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Semeru – summary information for Semeru (0603-30=)
Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi – News and information portal for the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia

The Volcanism Blog

Warnings issued as Karangetang erupts 4 December 2008

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Karangetang volcano (also known as Api Siau), situated at the northern end of the island of Siau, north of Sulawesi, is among the most active of Indonesia volcanoes. In late November increased seismicity was registered at Karangetang, white and brownish eruption plumes rose to an altitude of 1.8km and incandescent rockslides travelled up to 1km south and west of the main crater. There were further rockslides of incandescent materials on 1 and 2 December, along with projection of incandescent material from the main crater and the eruption of a plume to an altitude of 3km. On 2 December the alert level was raised to the second-highest alert level of orange, and today the volcanological authority has warned local inhabitants and tourists to be ready for further activity, and advised that no-one should climb the volcano above 500m above sea level.

Karangetang is a 1784m stratovolcano with a history of frequent exposive activity generating pyroclastic flows and lahars, and a tendency to grow lava domes in its five summit craters. It is a potentially dangerous volcano and needs careful watching, as its eruptive history shows.

News
Volcano spews hot ash in central Indonesia – GMA News, 4 December 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Karangetang – information about Karangetang (0607-02=)
Direktorat Vulkanologi Indonesia – Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia
Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi – News and information portal for the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia

The Volcanism Blog

Some pictures from volcanic Sulawesi 2 December 2008

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Volcanism Blog reader and commenter Ton van de Aa of Veghel in The Netherlands has very kindly contributed some pictures of the volcanoes of Sulawesi which he took during a recent visit to Indonesia. Six of the pictures are included in this post: the volcanoes featured are Klabat, Lokon, Mahawu and Tondanu Caldera, all on Sulawesi, which is one of the most volcanically-active parts of Indonesia, which is of course one of the most volcanically-active parts of the world.

Klabat volcano, Sulawesi, Indonesia
The symmetrical 1995-metre cone of Klabat volcano, which produces fumarolic activity but has no records of historical eruptions.

Lokon volcano, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Lokon volcano, the higher of the two peaks of the Lokon-Empung volcanic complex. Lokon and Empung are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi.

Mahawu volcano crater, Sulawesi, Indonesia
The crater of Mahawu volcano. The crater is 180 metres wide and 140 metres deep, and is occasionally host to a small crater lake. Mahawu’s activity, notes the GVP, ‘has been restricted to occasional small explosive eruptions recorded since 1789’, but there has been recent (1994) fumarolic activity within the crater. The place apparently has a strong sulphur smell. Local people write their names at the bottom of the crater using stones, in the belief that this will bring good luck.

Mahawu volcano crater, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Another view of Mahawu crater.

Mahawu volcano crater, Sulawesi, Indonesia
And a further view of the interior of Mahawu crater.

Tondano Caldera, Sulawesi, Indonesia
A view of Tondano Caldera, a 20 x 30 kilometre quaternary caldera in northern Sulawesi. The eastern rim of the caldera forms the skyline on the right.

Many thanks to Ton van der Aa for these images.

The Volcanism Blog

Soputan, Indonesia – eruption reported 6 October 2008

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According to an Associated Press report Mount Soputan on Sulawesi island in Indonesia has erupted today, producing a 1km eruption column. Soputan is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. The most recent eruptive activity there was reported in June this year.

UPDATE: Press reports say that Soputan is at yellow alert, but it is shown on the VSI website as being at orange alert, which is the second-highest alert level.

News
Indonesian volcano erupts, spews flame and smoke – Associated Press, 6 October 2008
Indonesian volcano erupts, spews flame and smoke (the AP report again) – International Herald Tribune, 6 October 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soputan – summary information for Soputan (0606-03=)
Direktorat Vulkanologi Indonesia – Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia
Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi – News and information portal for the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia

The Volcanism Blog

Anak Krakatau activity 16 June 2008

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The tireless volcano watchers at Activolcans report that activity continues at Anak Krakatau (‘child of Krakatau’), perhaps at slightly lower intensity than recently; low-level eruptive activity has been pretty much continual since October 2007, and the volcano has been at level III (orange) alert since April. Anak Krakatau is a young volcanic cone constructed within the caldera left by the 1883 Krakatau eruption. Since its emergence in 1927 it has been the site of frequent eruptions.

Anak Krakatau is continuously monitored by the Indonesia volcanological authorities, who have a website dedicated to the volcano which reports real-time data: KrakMon Online.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Krakatau – summary information for Krakatau (0602-00=)
Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi – News and information portal for the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia
KrakMon Online – Krakatau monitoring online

The Volcanism Blog

Eruption at Soputan, Indonesia 6 June 2008

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Reports from Indonesia today say that Soputan on Sulawesi Island, which is among Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, is currently erupting. ABC News (Australia) quotes an Indonesian volcanologist as saying that the volcano is ‘sending heat clouds as far as four kilometres and throwing ash two kilometres into the air’. In Indonesia, ‘heat clouds’ generally means pyroclastic flows. There is as yet no order to evacuate but the authorities are maintaining a high alert and have imposed a 6km exclusion zone.

The Eruptions blog has more coverage.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Soputan – summary information for Soputan (0606-03=)
Direktorat Vulkanologi Indonesia – Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia
Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi – News and information portal for the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia

News
Volcano erupts in Indonesia – ABC News, 7 June 2008
Mount Soputan spewing sand and thick smoke – ANTARA News, 7 June 2008
Volcano erupts in IndonesiaSydney Morning Herald, 7 June 2008

The Volcanism Blog

Activity at Semeru, Indonesia 24 May 2008

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A correspondent has helpfully provided more information derived from the Indonesia media about the current alert at Semeru (reported here) and has translated local news reports, throwing more light on the nature of the volcano’s activity. The ‘heat clouds’ referred to in some reports clearly were pyroclastic flows.

The reports come from the Javanese Kompas newspaper and were apparently sent in by Blackberry from an observer on the spot. A 4-kilometre exclusion zone has been established around the volcano because of the danger posed by pyroclastic flows, and the Directorate of Volcanology and Risk Mitigtion warned on 23 May ‘although there is no cause yet for evacuation, residents should be alert up to 10km from the mountain centre in case of potential lahar, lava or pyroclastic flows’. A large number of earthquakes (more than 40) was registered between 00:00 and 18:00 on 23 May along with significant ash emissions. Since 15 May Semeru has released 12 pyroclastic flows with a range of up to 3 kilometres, and there is the potential for future flows to reach as far as 9 kilometres from the volcano.

It’s impossible to get any information from the Directorate of Volcanology and Risk Mitigation website at the moment because, as is not infrequently the case, the site is down. I hope no-one has to depend upon it for information in a crisis. Fortunately (perhaps) Indonesians are used to living with volcanoes: as my correspondent puts it, ‘The local villagers are so used to seeing these eruptions and so used to all the warnings etc it generally needs lava or a pyroclastic flow flowing through their back yard before they will move or evacuate’.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Semeru – summary information for Semeru (0603-30=)
Direktorat Vulkanologi Indonesia – Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia
Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi – News and information portal for the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia

News
Heat clouds raise Indonesian volcano alert – AFP, 21 May 2008
Mount Semeru volcano in Indonesia’s East Java heats up – Top News, India, 21 May 2008
Radius 4 Km dari Kawah Semeru BerbahayaKompas, 23 May 2008 (Indonesian)

The Volcanism Blog

Alert raised for Semeru, Indonesia 22 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Indonesia, Semeru.
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The alert level for Mount Semeru, the tallest volcano on Java and one of the most active, has been raised to level three after it spewed ‘heat clouds’ down its slopes, media reports say. Do they mean pyroclastic flows? The Indonesian authorities have said that the activity poses no danger, and urged local residents to remain calm and stay put.

Semeru has effectively been in a continuous state of eruption since 1967.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Semeru – summary information for Semeru (0603-30=)
Direktorat Vulkanologi Indonesia – Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia
Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi – News and information portal for the Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia

News
Heat clouds raise Indonesian volcano alert – AFP, 22 May 2008
Indonesia raises alert level for Java volcano – Radio Australia, 22 May 2008

The Volcanism Blog