Indonesia's Mount Sinabung has erupted three times within hours, spewing large plumes of smoke and ash into the sky.

Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the nearby town of Brastagi, said a dark cloud of smoke covered the sun after a dull thud was heard the third time the volcano erupted on Friday morning.

At least 10,000 people have been evacuated in the last few weeks. Many are housed in temporary shelters.

Mount Sinabung erupts three times in hours

In the shelters are also 6,000 people who have been displaced ever since volcanic activity last year forced evacuations. Since no one knows when the current eruptions will end, authorities are reluctant to allow people to go home, even to check on their livestock.

Volcanologist Armen Putra told Al Jazeera that there is still a lot of activity inside the volcano and a larger eruption is possible.

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency is currently in a village 3km from the top of the volcano, setting up a monitoring device to measure activity.

On Thursday, volcanic ash blanketed parts of Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra, about 50km from the volcano. Residents were forced to wear masks as winds carried smoke towards the city.

The 2,460-metre volcano has spewed hot lava almost daily since its alert level was raised in early June to the highest level.

The third eruption on Friday morning [Stefanie Dekker/Al Jazeera]

Source: Al Jazeera