Saturday, November 3, 2007

Volcano - Indonesia (Bandung) NOV

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's Mount Kelud volcano appears to have erupted, a top official said on Saturday, based on seismographic signals, but the volcano is obscured from view by heavy cloud cover.

An estimated 350,000 people live within 10 km (6 miles) of the volcano, which is about 90 km (55 miles) southwest of Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.

Saut Simatupang, an official at Indonesia's Centre for Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, told Reuters that the centre had detected continuous tremors in the volcano indicating that it had erupted, even though it was impossible to see any sign of ash or lava because of heavy cloud in the area.

"There is heavy cloud over there, so even ash could not be seen. But instrumentally it has erupted, as shown by the seismographic records that were over the scale," he said.

The authorities have been monitoring the volcano in East Java for several weeks and raised its alert status to the highest level about two weeks ago as its activity increased and an eruption appeared imminent.

The volcano's crater lake makes it much harder to monitor than others, but in recent weeks the lake temperature has risen and the frequency of tremors has increased.

When Mount Kelud last erupted in 1990 at least 30 people were killed. Indonesia has the highest number of active volcanoes of any country, sitting on a belt of intense seismic activity known as the "Pacific Ring of Fire." - Source

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