Indonesia warns cold lava flows to increase from Bali's Mt Agung

PHOTO: Reuters

JAKARTA - Cold lava flows, also known as lahar, are expected to increase amid an eruption of Mount Agung on Indonesia's tourist resort island of Bali, a disaster agency said on Monday, after sounding its highest-level warning over the volanco's activity.

"Watch out for lahar floods (cold lava) around Mt Agung,"agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on social network Twitter.

"Lahar floods have already occurred in several places on the slopes," he added, referring to expectations of increased rain in the current wet season. He urged people to avoid nearby river areas.

Authorities raise Mount Agung's threat warning to highest level

  • Bali's Ngurah Rai airport was closed on Monday (Nov 27) until Tuesday morning.
  • On the neighbouring island of Lombok, the international airport resumed flights on Monday morning after it was closed on Sunday due to ash clouds.
  • Indonesia's disaster management agency (BNPB) spokesman, Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said in a statement that the volcano,
  • which began to spew lava on Saturday, has also continuously ejected ash while the sound of intermittent eruptions can be heard as far as 12km away.
  • Lava is molten rock or magma that has erupted from the volcano.
  • A bright glow from the lava on the volcano summit was often seen on Sunday night,
  • signalling that potentially greater eruptions are very imminent, Dr Sutopo said.
  • BNPB issued the level four warning alert, which is the highest possible, at 6am.
  • Residents have been told to evacuate from the danger zone, which has been expanded to between 8 to 10km from 6 to 7.5km.
  • "The estimated danger zones are dynamic and are under consistent evaluation,
  • and may change anytime depending on the most actual observation data," Dr Sutopo said.
  • He also warned residents to be alert for cold lava around Mount Agung.
  • "Cold lava floods have started to hit several places on the foot of the volcano," he said on Twitter.
  • All observation stations around Mount Agung have been recording tremendously higher intensity of tremors since Sunday, state news agency Antara reported citing Mr Gede Suantika of the Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation Centre.
  • The volcano, the highest point in Bali and located about 75 kilometres from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August.
  • More than 34,000 people have fled from a rumbling volcano on the resort island of Bali as the magnitude of tremors grows,
  • prompting fears it could erupt for the first time in more than 50 years, an official said.
  • Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said the number of people fleeing their homes surrounding the volcano had tripled amid growing alarm that Mount Agung could erupt at any moment.
  • The airport has prepared buses and trains to divert passengers to alternative hubs in neighbouring provinces if the mountain erupts.
  • Flight disruptions due to drifting ash clouds are not uncommon in Indonesia, which sits on a belt of seismic activity known as the "Ring of Fire".
  • Bali officials said the island was still generally safe but urged tourists to stay away from tourism spots located within the danger zone.
  • Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position on the "Ring of Fire", a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where frequent seismic activity occurs.
  • The volcano agency's chief Kasbani said Mount Agung had a history of major eruptions that eclipsed recent episodes in Indonesia, including the 2010 eruption of Mount Merapi in Central Java that claimed at least 350 lives.

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