Volcanoes Are Blowing Their Tops

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Sinabung in Sumatra and Monaro in Vanuatu erupted yesterday, with Agung likely to blow its top in a matter of hours.

  • Mount Sinabung in Sumatra erupted yesterday, forcing thousands to evacuate
  • Highest possible threat level raised in Bali
  • 100,000 people evacuated from Mount Agung area
  • Agung could erupt in a matter of hours
  • Monaro volcano in Vanuatu erupted on the same

Mount Sinabung in Sumatra erupted at 1.23pm local time on Sept 27, billowing smoke as high as 1.5 miles, the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre reported.


The 2,450-metre Mount Sinabung is one of the 34 active volcanoes on the island of Sumatra.

It is just 25 miles from the so-called supervolcano Lake Toba.

The last time that 62-mile wide crater blew about 75,000 years ago. It was the largest explosive eruption on Earth and threw such a large amount of ash into the atmosphere that it blotted out the Sun and cooled the whole Earth.

Getty Images

It also wiped out most humans living at the time.

Mount Sinabung has erupted multiple times in recent years, killing 16 in 2014 and 6 in 2016.

Tens of thousands live in the volcano’s vicinity and refugee camps are established no less than 4.3 miles from the volcano, Llewellyn said.

Thousands of villagers were evacuated from around the mountain and warned to stay at least 7km away.

A lava flow warning has been issued, with authorities fearing lava flows could cascade down the mountain and destroy homes, as has happened several times.


Just like Mount Agung, Mount Sinabung lies on the Ring of Fire, a belt around the Pacific Ocean containing 75 percent of the Earth’s active volcanoes.

Mount Agung, however, causes greater worry. The last time it erupted in 1963, nearly 2,000 people were killed.

Volcanic activity ratcheted up over the last month, building to 1,000 tremors a day now. Volcanologists already raised the threat level to 4 – the highest possible level – on Sept 22.

Nearly 100,000 people have fled a 12km radius around Agung.

The government stated it has established refugee camps and is providing food, clothing, toilet facilities, masks, and cash.

Several nations have posted travel advisories, including the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.

Airlines flying from Australia to Denpasar, including Jetstar and Virgin Australia, are taking on excess jet fuel in Darwin on the way in case the volcano erupts.

More than 50,000 Australian tourists are on the idyllic holiday island for their school holidays, but authorities insist the destination is safe.

The largest and most sacred mountain in Bali, Agung has been smoking for almost a week since a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the neighbouring island of Java on Sept 21.

On Sept 24, a 650-foot-tall column of smoke was seen rising from the mountain, according to the chief geologist monitoring the site, Gede Suantika.


“We observed sulphuric smoke spewing from its crater and we never saw this before,” Suantika told Reuters.

“There are some who are staying behind because the volcano hasn’t erupted yet or because of religious beliefs,” said Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho at a news conference.

Nugroho said Mount Agung has entered a “critical phase,” with hundreds of shallow volcanic tremors indicating that magma has risen closer to the surface.

Scientists said Mount Agung could erupt in a matter of hours.


Meanwhile, thousands have been forced to flee their homes after a volcano on a Pacific island reportedly erupted.

Reports suggest up to 6,000 residents have been forced to evacuate due to the Monaro volcano on Ambae Island, Vanuatu.

Over the weekend the volcano’s activity measure rocketed to Level 4 for the first time.

According to foreign reports, the eruption rained rocks and ash on nearby homes on Wednesday morning.

Thomas Boyer, Volcanologist via Reuters

The volcano last erupted in 2005 on the island, which has a population of over 270,000.

The government has allocated resources to provide food and water for evacuees who have fled their homes.

Vanuatu Red Cross/Facebook

The volcano stirred earlier this month but intensified over the weekend and began to emit ash and volcanic gas.