October 8, 2012
Indonesia Volcano Lets Out Roar Over Weekend
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
An active Indonesian volcano erupted once again, spewing out clouds of ash and alarming residents as far as three miles away.
Since its biggest eruption in July 2011, when over 5,200 people were evacuated, Mount Lokon has erupted and spewed clouds of ash about 600 times.
Officials said they would not be upgrading the volcano's alert level despite the series of eruptions, and the 250 people who live closet to Mount Lokon reside outside the 1.5 mile danger zone.
The volcano has been active since last Friday, and until Sunday it was categorized as idle. However, since then, officials have put Mount Lokon in the alert status.
Indonesia's disaster management agency said that, in February, the volcano spewed clouds of ash over a mile into the sky.
Indonesia lies on the "Ring of Fire," which is an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is known for its earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Indonesian archipelago, home to 240 million people, has dozens of active volcanoes.
The country's most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed over 350 people in a series of eruptions last year.
Mount Lokon is one of about 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, and its last major eruption in 1991 killed a Swiss hiker and forced thousands of people to evacuate. The area is home to more than 33,000 people.
So far, authorities are not certain how many additional, separate eruptions have occurred since Sunday's blast. Sutupo Purwo Nugroho of Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Board said that there are still eruptions, but they could not be observed because the volcano is covered by haze.
Mount Lokon is the higher of twin volcanic peaks separated by 1.4 miles in northeast Indonesia.