Gunung Agung volcano (Bali, Indonesia): eruption has begun

27 November, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Mount Agung spews volcanic ash into the sky at night

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said ash clouds were moving away from the worldwide airport, which remained open, The Guardian reported.

"At 6.20am (local time), the eruption reached between 3,000 and 4,000m from the summit with the ash moving in a southeast direction at a speed of 18km an hour", said the National Disaster Mitigation Agency's spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a statement on Sunday morning.

Made Sugiri, an employee at Mahagiri Panoramic Resort some 10 kilometres from the crater, said a thin layer of volcanic ash reached the area.

Per NPR, volcanologist Gede Suantika told Reuters "The activity of Mount Agung has entered the magmatic eruption phase, it is still spewing ash at the moment, but we need to monitor and be cautious over the possibility of a strong, explosive eruption".

Global airlines including Jetstar and Qantas have cancelled flights to and from the popular tourist destination.

"There was concern the volcano was heading for a very major eruption, so far this is fairly minor, but could be worsening", AccuWeather Meteorologist David Samuhel said.

There is an exclusion zone around the volcano
JOHANNES CHRISTO REUTERS There is an exclusion zone around the volcano

"I think these latest eruptions are more risky, given the thick clouds it's releasing", he said.

An exclusion zone of 7.5km (4.5 miles) remains in place for those near the volcano, with authorities distributing masks to those in close proximity to smoke. "Three flights that were en route to Bali have returned to Australia". Thousands were forced to evacuate earlier this year due the threat of an eruption on Mount Agung.

During its last eruption in 1963 it left more than 1,000 people dead and destroyed several villages.

About 25,000 people have been unable to return to their homes since September, when Agung showed signs of activity for the first time in more than half a century.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

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