Thursday, December 8, 2011

Indonesia's Mount Gamalama Forces Evacuations


Mount Gamalama erupted with force today, forcing residents of Ternate Island out of their homes on the slope of the volcano, and into five shelters. A total of 1,200 people so far have been placed in these shelters. Video from the area shows heavy rain mixing with ash, causing lahars and other problems. Some areas will likely be destroyed by this eruption, as the mix of ash and rain creates a sort of liquid cement that demolishes everything in its path.

The volcano is erupting a large amount of ash, and lava is descending the slopes. No fatalities have been caused by the eruption as of yet, and I suspect Indonesia is well prepared to handle such volcanic disasters, as they have more active volcanoes on their islands than most other places in the world. Indonesia lies on the so called Pacific Ring of Fire, and has hundreds if not thousands of volcanoes on all of its islands, most of them with historical activity records.

Another Indonesian volcano is also showing signs of activity, as Australian volcanologist John Seach reported:

"Sundoro volcano in central Java was raised to level 2 alert on 6th December 2011 after an increase in seismicity. The temperature of fumaroles at the summit increased from 75 deg C on 26th November to 95 deg C on 2nd December. On 2nd December a plume from the summit rose several tens of metres above the rim of the crater. The number of volcanic earthquakes were measured as 3 in October, 13 in November and 20 between 1-4 December. A 2 km exclusion zone has been placed around the volcano. The last eruption of Sundoro volcano occurred in 1971."

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