Mount Sinabung, a volcano in Sumatra in western Indonesia, is again spewing large clouds of gas into the air. Last week, authorities had placed the region on the highest level of alert, and are closely monitoring the volcano.
Hot ash from the volcano made its way down the slopes of the mountain and covered up to 1.5 miles, although no injuries were reported, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Indonesia’s government volcanologist Surono, who goes by only one name, urged the villagers to stay away from the main danger zone that extended up to 4 miles southeast from the crater. More than 2,700 people have been evacuated from nearby villages.
"The growing size of the lava dome is very unstable," Surono said, according to the AP, adding that boiling rocks mixed with gases may fall down from the mountain anytime. Over 50 separate eruptions were counted early Wednesday, but villages located outside the evacuated area were not in danger, the authorities said.
Mount Sinabung is a 2,460-meter tall volcano in the Karo district of North Sumatra and had also erupted in 2013, spewing a cloud of black ash and rocks nearly two miles into the sky. Authorities had then evacuated villages along the slopes of the mountain following the eruption, forcing at least 1,300 people to flee their homes.
The mountain, which is among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, has been releasing smoke and ash more than 1,600 feet into the air since Monday, the AP reported. The mountain had been dormant for the past 400 years, but started erupting at irregular intervals since 2010. Last year, at least 17 people were killed after an eruption at the mountain.
The island nation is prone to volcanic activity and frequent earthquakes as it lies along the “Ring of Fire,” a nearly 25,000-mile horseshoe-shaped curve along the Pacific Ocean basin.