Indonesia’s Mount Agung spewed ash 19,000 feet into the air on Saturday. The National Agency for Disaster management issued a level 3 alert, informing the public that anyone within four-and-a-half-mile radius of the peak should evacuate the area while also distributing masks to the public. Residents were evacuated from 224 points around the island, the eruption displaces about 25,000 residents and has stranded 5,500 passengers, since flights in and out of the area have been cancelled at Lombok International Airport and Ngurah Rai International Airport as well. Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised its aviation notices from Orange to Red, the highest alert.
The last time Mount Agung erupted was in 1963 after more than 100 years of slumber causing the deaths of 1,000 people. Its eruption was so powerful the ash cloud it produced cooled the planet by up to a full degree Fahrenheit.
The volcano started to show activity on Tuesday after smoke was seen above the summit and tremors were felt for three hours. There was also prior activity in September which prompted about 140,000 people to leave the area — though many did return home after the volcano’s activity died down.
The mountain lies approximately 45 miles from Bali’s tourist areas that attract millions of tourists. Among the many tourist sites is the Tanah Lot Temple, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, and the Bali Safari and Marine Park.
Indonesia is one of the places that rest on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activities. Other volcanoes and earthquakes along the “Ring of Fire” are in Chile, Mexico, the United States, Antarctica, Russia, Japan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Peru, Taiwan, and Guatemala. About 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the “Ring of Fire.”
Checkout live updates of Mount Agung here; it features live webcams and other data reports.
UPDATE: December 3rd
Mount Agung activity has fluctuated in the past days but Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Centre believes that a “…more violent eruption remained likely…”
Many attempting to leave the island have been forced to remain in the area due to flight cancellations amid a new volcanic ash cloud emitted from the volcano.
[Featured Image by Firdia Lisnawati/AP Images]