Volcanic unrest: 20 volcanoes across Indonesia currently showing above normal activity

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Eruption of Soputan volcani in Indonesia. via Twitter

The Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has noted that there are 20 volcanoes with above normal levels of activity across Indonesia.

One of them has the status of awas [danger], two are on siaga [watch] and the remaining 17 mountains are on waspada [caution]. The awas is Mount Sinabung [North Sumatra], and the siaga are Mount Agung [Bali] and Mount Soputan [North Sulawesi].

A number of volcanoes are popular tourist destinations during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. The PVMBG has coordinated with the respective tourist area managers.

For Mount Tangkubanparahu [West Java], Dieng [Central Java], Papandayan [West Java], Gede [West Java] and Bromo [East Java], we have given the direction to remain cautious and coordinate with us at the PVMBG or with the Volcano Observation Post, which is on stand-by to provide information,” Kristianto said.

These volcanoes could erupt with little or no warning.It’s not that there are no signs, but they are short, and not obvious.

A number of volcanoes have such characteristics, including Mount Tangkubanparahu and Mount Papandayan. “Mount Tangkubanparahu in 2013, for example, issued several phreatic eruptions that were not preceded by obvious signs.

The phreatic eruptions produced a burst of material that fell around the crater of Mount Tangkubanparahu. “It is imaginable that if it happened during daytime, it could cause a panic, and maybe someone could get hit. In general, the material thrown out by phreatic eruptions is not hot, but it’s panic that could actually cause new problems. This is what needs to be watched out for.

Just remember: Krakatau was obliterated in a cataclysmic 1883 eruption. In 1927, a new island, Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatoa”, emerged from the caldera formed in 1883 and is the current location of eruptive activity.

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[Tempo, The Jakarta Post]

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