Indonesia’s Sinabung Volcano Erupts, Thousands Evacuate

After two weeks of increased seismic activity and evacuations, Sinabung Volcano in Indonesia finally erupted. Last year, the mountain had a similar explosion that killed 16 people. Luckily for the thousands of villagers nearby, the mountain gave plenty of warnings this time.

According to Independent.ie, the mountain has been causing problems for residents for over a week, with the alert status raised to its highest level on Tuesday. The warnings have prompted the evacuation of thousands of people from four villages on the Indonesian island of Sumatra over the past couple weeks.

Earlier in the week, Sinabung Volcano’s lava dome started growing and became unstable according to Indonesia’s BNPB, an ominous sign of an oncoming eruption. Fox News reports the activity prompted the government to issue evacuation warnings for the over 6,000 people living within a four-mile radius south and southeast of Sinabung.

CNN reports that the Sinabung has finally erupted, and is now spewing lava and volcanic ash.

Photography student Ahmad Zikri Mohamad Zuki has been watching Sinabung Volcano come back to life over the last couple of weeks. He told CNN that he’s witnessed pyroclastic flows – a dense, superheated flow of lava, rock and ash – rushing down the mountain.

Flows like those Zuki described can travel down the side of a mountain at speeds up to 60 mph and reach temperatures of 932 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius), according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Mount Sinabung is just one Indonesia’s 120 active volcanoes on the 13,000 islands that make up the country. According to Fox2, about 75 percent of the country’s population lives within 62 miles of an active volcano.

Indonesia sits on the seismically active “Ring of Fire” along the Pacific Ocean.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, May has seen a number of high-profile volcano blasts from the Ring of Fire, including eruptions in Japan, Chile and Costa Rica. Combined with deadly earthquakes like the one in Nepal, the first half of 2015 has seemed pretty rocky, although the first half of last year was also dramatic.

Sinabung Volcano has also had an eventful few years. In August, 2010, the mountain suddenly sprung to life after 400 years of inactivity. That eruption killed two people and forced another 30,000 to evacuate.

Since 2013, it has had sporadic activity. In February, 2014, another blast killed 16 people.

For the most recent event, aid agencies have set up shelters and kitchens to help the thousands of people fleeing the mountain. Government agencies report they will continue to monitor the activity on Sinabung Volcano until the eruption ends and life can return to normal.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]