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Tourists evacuated after Indonesian volcano blasts into life

July 29, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Indonesian authorities issued flight alert notices at the weekend after two volcanos erupted, the most dramatic eruption being Tangkuban Parahu near the country’s third-biggest city of Bandung, an eruption that shook the earth, blasted ash 200 metres into the air and sent panicked residents fleeing.

Located about 160 kilometres southeast of Jakarta, Tangkuban Parahu volcano is a popular destination for foreign and domestic tourists. It stands 2284 metres above sea level.

The Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA) alert level for Tangkuban Parahu was set on Friday at orange, the second most severe of four VONA levels. The top level is code red.

No disruption to flights has been reported though airlines are monitoring the situation closely.

The orange VONA alert issued by Indonesia’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry’s Geological Agency indicates that volcanic ash particles are still lingering 1000 feet above the crater of Tangkuban Parahu volcano.

“This level (of situation) may risk the flights. The VONA alert also shows that volcanic ash clouds are heading to south and north-east directions,” Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesman Agus Wibowo said in a statement.

Vivid footage shows the violent eruption, with cars and motorbikes speeding away from Tangkuban Parahu on ash-covered roads.

The other volcanic eruption monitored at the weekend by the Volcano Observatory was Dukono, an active volcano located in the northern part of Indonesia’s Halmahera island. It has been erupting more or less continuously since 1933, with occasional surges in activity.

Dukono is near the town of Tobelo, which it occasionally covers in black ash. Tourists venture to Dukono, as can be seen on the You&MeTraveling2 website here.

The VONA for Dukono is also at orange level. Indonesia’s Geological Agency says the best estimate of Dukono’s ash cloud places the top at around 1829 metres above sea level, but it “may be higher than what can be observed clearly”.

Tangkuban Parahu erupts

Indonesia is the world’s most seismically active region, with about 130 active volcanoes. It also boasts the world’s largest and deepest volcanic lake, Lake Toba, formed by the so-called Toba Event, a super-eruption between 67,500 and 75,500 years ago.

Possibly the largest explosive volcanic eruption in the past 25 million years, the Toba Event plunged the world into twilight, brought humanity close to extinction and triggered an ice age, according to some researchers.

Written by Peter Needham

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