Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Bali's Mt Agung volcano erupting but alert level remains unchanged

Bali’s rumbling Mount Agung volcano has erupted after months of monitoring Bali’s rumbling Mount Agung volcano has erupted after months of monitoring
Lillian Steele | 22 November, 2017, 01:25

The eruption was considered small although the National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the danger zone around the volcano was "dynamic" and could change at any time.

But the alert level has not been addressed to the extent that "it is not a rash", said the Centre for volcanology and management of geological hazards.

"Do not panic. Stay away from areas within a 6-5/5 kilometer radius of the volcano", he said on his Twitter account.

"Already, it's already erupted", PVMBG head, I Gede Suantika, said.

Flights could be affected if any volcanic ash invades Bali airspace, but local authorities are urging calm and vigilance.

No other Australian airline has signalled any change to flight schedules as a result of Mount Agung.

More than 140,000 people had fled their homes in recent months before Mount Agung began belching smoke 700m above its summit on Tuesday.

The alert level remains at three after it was downgraded from the maximum level of four on October 29.

Back then, more than 1,000 people died on the slopes of the volcano - many killed by clouds of hot gas called "pyroclastic flows".

New Zealand volcanologist Dr Janine Krippner said the eruption was "At this point this is very, very small".

Mount Agung, located in Karang Asem district, about 70 km from the tourist hub Kuta, erupted at 17:05 p.m.

"Time to make sure you are prepared and keep an eye on official Agung information".

There are around 130 volcanoes in Indonesia due to its position on the "Ring of Fire", a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where frequent seismic activity occurs.

Mount Sinabung on Sumatra island, which is now at its highest alert level, has been active since 2013.

The Indonesian resort island's airport remained open and was operating normally yesterday afternoon.

According to official estimates, the holiday island of Bali has lost at least $US110m in tourism and productivity while locals were moved to shelters.

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