Alert Issued over Sulawesi Volcano
JAKARTA ~ People living in the shadow of Mount Soputan volcano on Sulawesi island were warned to stay away on Tuesday after it started erupting with smoke and flame, officials said.
“There’s no order to evacuate but people are asked to stay outside a radius of four kilometers from the volcano’s summit because it could spew lava and heat clouds down its slopes,” volcanologist Sandi said.
The nearest village was eight kilometers away on the western side of the volcano, which towers 1,783 meters over North Sulawesi province.
The mountain started erupting on Monday morning and continued to shoot massive clouds of smoke and flame throughout the night, prompting authorities to raise the eruption warning level to the third highest on a four-level system.
A new lava dome has been forming at the peak of Mount Soputan since a big eruption in 1991. Scientists have said that its collapse will send lava as well as deadly heatclouds speeding down its slopes.
Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where continental plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity. There are 129 active volcanoes across the country, including 21 in Java.