Indonesia on alert as unstable volcano unleashes burst

Authorities count more than 50 separate eruptions early on Wednesday, sending hot ash down slope of Mount Sinabung.

    Indonesia on alert as unstable volcano unleashes burst
    Authorities are closely monitoring Mount Sinabung after placing the area on the highest alert level last week [AFP]

    A volcano in western Indonesia that has been spewing clouds of searing gas high into the air has let out a powerful new burst, officials said.

    On Wednesday, authorities were closely monitoring Mount Sinabung on Sumatra, one of Indonesia's main islands, after placing in at the highest alert level last week.

    Hot ash tumbled down Sinabung's slopes up to 2.5km from its smouldering mouth, government volcanologist Surono told the Associated Press news agency.

    He urged villagers to stay out of the main danger zone, which stretches 7km to the southeast of the crater.

    No injuries were reported.

    "The growing size of the lava dome is very unstable," said Surono, who goes by one name, adding that smouldering rocks mixed with hot gases may tumble down at any time.

    The volcano in North Sumatra province has been shooting smoke and ash more than 500m into the air since Monday.

    Authorities counted more than 50 separate eruptions early on Wednesday, but said villages outside the evacuated area were not in immediate danger.

    Mount Sinabung is among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

    The 2,600-metre Mount Sinabung has sporadically erupted since 2010, after being dormant for 400 years. An eruption last year killed at least 17 people.

    More than 2,700 people were evacuated from villages around the crater into several temporary shelters.

    SOURCE: AP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.