Bali volcano spews smoke and ash, raising eruption fears

2017-11-21 23:00
Mount Agung emits volcanic smoke and ash from its crater as seen from Bali, Indonesia's tourist island. (Wayan Wijaya, AP)

Mount Agung emits volcanic smoke and ash from its crater as seen from Bali, Indonesia's tourist island. (Wayan Wijaya, AP)

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Karangasem - A rumbling volcano on Indonesia's holiday island of Bali spewed ash and towering clouds of smoke on Tuesday, heightening fears it may erupt for the first time in more than 50 years.

Mount Agung belched smoke as high as 700m above its summit, as it stirred to life again after more than 140 000 people fled homes around the crater last month for fear the volcano would erupt.

Rumbling intermittently

Nearly 1 600 people died when Agung last erupted in 1963, but officials said that the rumblings did not pose an immediate threat to those living in its shadow.

The alert level has not been raised, according to Made Indra, from Bali's disaster mitigation agency.

"To us this is not an eruption,"said Indra.

"An eruption means materials are spewing out of the mountain and in this case there hasn't been any. This is smoke".

But local volcanologist Gede Suantika added that "people within 6km of the mountain (summit) should evacuate".

Seismic activity

Agung has been rumbling intermittently since August.

Officials estimated concerns about an eruption over the past few months had cost Bali at least $110m in lost tourism and productivity as many local residents moved to shelters.

Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position on the "Ring of Fire", a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where frequent seismic activity occurs.


Read more on:    indonesia  |  volcanoes

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