Posts Tagged ‘Indonesia’

Sangeang Api erupts – and an intensity 5+ eruption is well overdue

May 31, 2014

Another volcanic eruption in Indonesia. The odds that the next volcanic eruption of intensity 5 or greater will occur in Indonesia must now be quite significant.

This time the eruption was at Sangeang Api.

VolcanoDiscoveryA major explosive eruption occurred at the remote volcano this morning at around 08:30 UTC. A subplinian eruption column quickly rose to an estimated 50-65,000 ft (15-20 km) altitude and drifted several hundred km to the east and southeast. 
Ash fall was reported in areas up to 30 km downwind from the volcano. 
Luckily, the island itself is largely uninhabited although visted by farmers who cultivate some land. Evacuations were ordered within 1.5 km radius from the volcano. 
Seismic activity preceding the eruption, including a nearby magnitude 4.5 earthquake at 03:05 UTC, was reported felt in the nearby city of Bima (Sumbawa Island) and even on Flores. 
Today’s explosion was the first at Sangeang Api volcano since its eruptions during 1997-99. Increased steaming and a number of earthquakes in recent years might have been precursors to today’s event.

sangeang-api-30may14 photo Bambang Bimawan

sangeang-api-30may14 photo Bambang Bimawan

It has now been 23 years since the eruption of a volcano with an eruption index of 5 or greater. Through the last century, intervals between VEI5+ eruptions were 7 years on average.

ktwopDuring the 19th century there were volcano eruptions having a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 5 or greater on average every 11 years. During the 20th century the average was 7 years with the greatest interval between VEI5 eruptions being 23 years. The last VEI5 eruption was in 1991 and now – 22 years on – a VEI5 eruption is overdue.

Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Hudson (both VEI6) erupted in 1991.

For climate, the net effect of volcanic eruptions – especially those with large dust clouds and aerosol producing gas emissions – is usually of global cooling. We have seen a standstill (and a slight decline) in global temperatures even through this relatively long interval without a VEI5 eruption.  The effects of the 1991 eruptions probably subsided around 1994. The effects of a single eruption on global temperature probably last 2 to 3 years. But any significant, single eruption may well be able to trigger a particular, semi-stable, climate regime. And when the next VEI5+ eruption does occur we are likely to see a more intensive global cooling regime.

Entire Sukhoi sales team killed in superjet crash

May 10, 2012

A Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 crashed into mountains in Indonesia while on a sales tour of Asia. All 45 people on board were killed and it is thought that the entire Sukhoi sales team perished in the crash. The SSJ 100 development was plagued by delays and the first commercial aircraft was delivered in February 2011.

Voice of Russia:

Fitch Ratings agency expects that the recent Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) crash in Indonesia during its demonstration flight will negatively affect the popularity of this jet brand in the short-term but won’t undermine the overall rating of its manufacturer, the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. 

The SSJ-100 with 40 people on board slammed into a Salak Mount slope in Indonesia on May 9.

Indonesian rescuers have found no survivors at the site of Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash on Java’s Salak Island, a rescue official reports. According to him, the bodies will be evacuated from the site by helicopters as it is located 1,500 meters above sea level.

The jet with 45 passengers went off radar during its demonstration flight in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on May 9. Eight Russians and citizens of five countries were on board

A rescue helicopter found the jet’s fragments on the Salak peak, 65 km of Jakarta.

Russian police are investigating.

Related: Huge blow to Russia’s aviation industry

8.7 magnitude earthquake off Aceh again – tsunami watch

April 11, 2012

Update: A small tsunami (17cm) is reported to be heading towards the Aceh coast but the US Geological Survey believes the risk for a large tsunami is small. A tsunami “warning” is in effect in Sri Lanka and the eastern coast of India. Tremors were felt 1500km away across Southern India; in Chennai, Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram among many other cities.


Indonesia issued a tsunami warning Wednesday after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.7 hit waters off westernmost Aceh province. tremors were felt in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India. High-rise apartments and offices on Malaysia’s west coast shook for at least a minute.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami watch was in effect for Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Maldives and other Indian Ocean islands, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, Kenya, South Africa and Singapore. …

A giant 9.1-magnitude quake off the country on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed 230,000 people, nearly three quarter of them in Aceh.

Interestingly the Piers Corbyn’s March forecast for extreme weather (based on solar activity) had identified 8th – 10th April as being especially prone to severe earthquake or volcanic activity.

article image

extract from the Piers Corbyn March Earthquake & Major Volcano Red Warning chart published in March, the period 8th - 10th April was highlighted as a Top Red Warning (R4) period

Mount Lokon erupts on Sulawesi island

July 15, 2011

The threat of an eruption of Mount Lokon has been increasing since June 9th. The alert level was raised 4 days ago that an eruption was imminent and more than 4,000 people have left or have been evacuated. The volcano finally erupted in the early hours of Friday morning with 55 separate eruptions over 6 hours but with the advance warnings and orderly evacuations there is no significant threat to human life. Mount Lokon last erupted in 1991.

Mount Lokon erupting

Mount Lokon erupting: image Reuters

Earthquake Report:

“In general people are not afraid as the volcano which follows a more or less regular ash burst interval of 10 to 15 minutes.  Some of them are living as close as 2 km from the crater which could be very dangerous if a strong explosive eruption would send a pyroclastic flow along the slopes of the volcano. People should have learned lessons from the eruption of Merapi volcano which killed hundreds of people last year.” 

The Jakarta Globe reports:

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) announced that Mountain Lokon in Tomohon, North Sulawesi erupted on Thursday. 

The eruption spewed ash, sand and other volcanic material as high as 1500 meters above the ground, causing forest fires around the volcano. “There was a big eruption around 10:31pm local time (1531 GMT), which saw ash, sand and rocks thrown 1,500 meters into the air,” government volcanologist Kristianto told AFP.

Another eruption took place at 12.30 a.m. Fifty-five eruptions took place in the six hours following the first eruption. More than 2,500 people were evacuated to four shelters. There were no reported deaths or injuries from the eruption.

There has been a significant rise in volcanic activity at Mount Lokon on Sulawesi island since June 9, prompting hundreds of people to evacuate the area. The volcano’s status was raised to its highest red alert level after it spewed ash 500 meters into the air over the weekend, leading to a 3.5-km evacuation zone being established in case of a bigger eruption.

“There is no mass panic because the community has already been warned of the situation and we are continuing to evacuate people,” added Kristianto, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

Around 28,000 people live within the evacuation zone.

The 1,580-meter Mount Lokon is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. It erupted in 1991, killing a Swiss tourist.


Mt. Merapi eruptions continue into second week

Mount Bromo in the Tengger Caldera ejects ash cloud – disrupts Bali flights

January 28, 2011

From AFP:

JAKARTA — Several international flights to and from the resort island of Bali were cancelled or diverted Thursday to avoid dangerous ash spewing from an Indonesian volcano, officials said.

Ash from rumbling Mount Bromo, a popular attraction in East Java province, had spread to the island popular with foreign tourists and surfers.

“We received information from Darwin that the ash from Bromo has reached 18,000 feet (5,500 metres) in the southeast direction and has affected some parts of Bali,” transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan told AFP.

Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo), is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java,Indonesia. At 2,329 metres (7,641 ft) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the most well known. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo is derived from the Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation.


The Tengger massif in Java at sunrise, showing the volcanoes Mt. Bromo (large foreground crater, smoking) and Mt. Semeru (background, smoking) : Wikipedia

In recent times Mt. Bromo erupted in 2004 (2 deaths) and also in November 2010 when Mt. Merapi was erupting.

Last week saw eruptions also from Anak Krakatau. Anak Krakatau has grown at an average rate of five inches (13 cm) per week since the 1950s. This equates to an average growth of 6.8 metres per year. The island is still active, with its most recent eruptive episode having begun in 1994.

Mt. Merapi rumbles on and rains cause cold lava floods

January 10, 2011

Mount Merapi has continued erupting in the past two or three weeks but at much lower intensities than the  fatal eruptions which occurred on October 26 and November 5.

Island Crisis reports that:

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — With heavy rainfall accompanied by sporadic but strong wind currents, Indonesia’s Yogyakarta was hit by the largest outflow of cold lava and mud, locally known as lahar dingin, since October’s Merapi eruptions, local media reported.

The cold lava damaged several bridges and created chaos as traffic flow was cut off for around 18 hours on one of the city’s main highways, which was flooded under meter-deep lahar in several areas. “In addition to destroying the Gempol main bridge on the Putih River, lahar also destroyed bridges in other villages, leading to the isolation of hundreds of residents in seven hamlets,” Heri Prawoto, head of the Magelang district’s Disaster Management Office, told the Jakarta Globe.

But the resilience of humans is amazing.

The Merapi Golf Course in Yogyakarta, covered in ash. image credit: DigitalGlobe.

In Merapi’s Shadow, a Tourism Boom

The golf courses may be covered in volcanic ash, but tourists are flocking to Indonesia to see devastated villages near the recently eruptive Mount Merapi volcano.

Tourists with a curiosity about the aftermath of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions are being courted to the central Javanese city of Yogyakarta, Reuters reports.

The eruptions, which began on Oct. 26, killed more than 350 people and created nearly 400,000 refuges. That destruction, it seems, is a selling point for local travel agencies desperate for tourists’ dollars. “In the new volcano tour package, we’ll take customers to explore the closest village to the peak and see how bad the devastation is,” Edwin Ismedi Hinma, of the local tour agencies association, told Reuters. “Then we’ll take them to a river to watch cold lahars flood past.”

Borobodur courtyard reopened but 90% of ash remains to be removed

November 22, 2010
Borobudur temple view from northeast plateau, ...

Borobudur temple view from the northeast: image via Wikipedia

The Borobodur site was closed to the public after the eruptions of Mount Merapi began on Oct. 26. The temple complex was partly reopened for tourists over the weekend. Yogyakarta airport is now open. The Jakarta Globe reports:

Officials are concerned the acidic soot will hasten the wearing of the temples, Borobudur in particular, which is covered in up to 3 centimeters of ash. “Since Nov. 11, we’ve taken emergency action to keep Borobudur clear of ash by cleaning up 72 stupas and the main stupa, and wrapping them in plastic,” Junus Satrio Atmojo, the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s head of historical and archeological sites, said Saturday.

The government has allocated a total of Rp 600 million ($67,200) to clean up the Buddhist temples of Borobudur, Pawon and Mendut, as well as the Hindu temple complex of Prambanan, he said. “Cleaning up Borobudur and the three other temples requires that we be extra careful and work step by step to prevent the ash lodging in the pores of the rock surface,” Junus said.

“It’s not a question of hiring more people to help clean up, but of the equipment that we need to buy.” That includes Rp 248 million for Borobudur. “Cleaning up Borobudur and the three other temples requires that we be extra careful and work step by step to prevent the ash lodging in the pores of the rock surface,” Junus said. “It’s not a question of hiring more people to help clean up, but of the equipment that we need to buy.”

“Our experience from the Aceh tsunami in 2004 tells us that cultural heritage and historical buildings are always the last to be budgeted for in the disaster recovery fund, and that’s why we need outside donors,” he said.

“Donors don’t necessarily have to give us cash. We’d be grateful for items such as plastic sheets, hoses, baking soda and anything else we can use to clean the monuments.”  Junus added that Unesco, which lists Borobudur as a world heritage site, had only been able to offer sending an expert to gauge the damage, as it had no experience dealing with volcanic clean-ups. “We politely declined, as we have plenty of Indonesian experts,” he said.

Temple officials have reopened the Borobudur yard and the first of the temple’s nine levels to the public, but the rest of the site remains closed for cleaning.

“That’s because we haven’t been able to remove all the volcanic ash covering the temple,” Iskandar M Siregar, head of technical services for Borobudur management, said on Saturday. “We’re using brooms and dust pans to clean it up, so we can’t go any faster,” he said. “So far, we’ve collected 20 cubic meters of ash.” Iskandar said this represented less than a tenth of the total volcanic ash at the site.

He also rebuffed calls to wait for the rains to wash away the ash, pointing out that this would only complicate matters. “That’s because the ash would wash into the temple’s drainage system and damage it,” he said.

Clean-up crews are trying as much as possible not to use mechanical equipment, which could damage the rock surface of the temple, he said.
“We have to hurry because the ash has a corrosive character, that accelerates the weathering of the stupas and stones,” Iskandar said.

Flights resume from Yogyakarta, Mt. Merapi quiet

November 21, 2010

AFP reports:

Indonesia’s Yogyakarta airport, which had been closed for about two weeks by the eruption of the Mount Merapi volcano, reopened for operations Saturday, officials said.

Merapi, which means “Mountain of Fire”, has killed 283 people since it began erupting last month and more than 270,000 are still living in temporary shelters.

Volcanic ash and clouds belched high into the sky threatened the safety of aircraft, causing dozens of international flights to and from the country to be cancelled.

But the mountain’s activity level has now decreased, although an alert remains in place.

Transportation Ministry director general of aviation Herry Bhakti told AFP: “The Yogyakarta airport has resumed operation at 12:00 pm (0500 GMT) today. The effect of volcanic ash has been insignificant.”

Mount Merapi winds down and Indonesia plans ending of Emergency period

November 19, 2010

The Indonesian news agency ANTARA reports that:

The government is to end the emergency response period for the Mount Merapi eruption disaster on November 24, a cabinet member said.

“We will maintain the emergency response period until November 24. Whether the period will be extended or not will depend on the situation,” Social Welfare Minister Salim Segaf Al-Jufri said.
Speaking to newsmen on when visiting Magelang district on Thursday, he said Mt Merapi evacuees could return home after the volcano`s “beware” status had been lowered.

After the end of the emergency response period, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) would begin implementing the reconstruction and rehabilitation programs for Mt Merapi victims, he said. “Houses that have been damaged or destroyed will be rebuilt and people who have lost cattle will be financially compensated. The funds to pay for people`s dead cows would be taken from the state and regional government budgets”, he said.
Salim Segaf Al-Jufri further said his ministry had at its disposal Rp397 billion in funds to help disaster victims. Eighty percent of the amount was to meet the victims` physical needs and the rest for operational expenses. But there also was more than Rp3 trillion in stand-by funds to respond to the needs of reconstruction and rehabilitation, he added.
Mount Merapi had erupted repeatedly in the past two or three weeks but its most fatal eruptions occurred on October 26 and November 5. As a result of the eruptions, at least 259 people had perished and many others sustained burns and became displaced.
Topographischer Atlas zur Reise durch Java: Magdeburg, Verlag E. Baensch 1845
Merapi from the South

Merapi Evacuees Ignore Volcano Threat to Go Home

November 15, 2010

Jakarta Globe:

Thousands of Indonesian families returned to their villages Monday even as scientists warned Mount Merapi volcano remained a severe threat and more bodies were found buried in the ash. Carrying their belongings on motorcycles and pickup trucks, more than 30,000 people had left emergency shelters after the government reduced a 20-kilometre (12-mile) exclusion zone by as much as half in certain districts. Most of the returnees were from Boyolali, Klaten and Magelang districts where the danger zone had been reduced.

Mount Merapi, a sacred landmark in Javanese tradition whose name translates as “Mountain of Fire”, had killed 259 people as of Monday’s count. Disaster Management Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said 367,548 people were still living in shelters on Monday, about 30,000 fewer than on Sunday.

Merapi spewed clouds of gas and ash as high as four kilometres Sunday but volcanologist Subandrio said this was “small compared to the 14 kilometres in previous days”.

“It’s safe for people to go home as long as they stay outside the danger zone,” he added. The government maintained the 20-kilometre danger zone for Sleman district, on the southern slopes of the mountain, as “there’s still a probability of heat clouds going in that direction”, he said.

In another report The Jakarta Globe says that evacuees leaving the camps have been asked to sign waivers before returning home:

About 600 evacuees left two shelters in Boyolali on Friday to return to their homes in the Selo and Cepogo subdistricts. Volunteers at the shelters tried to persuade them to stay, but the evacuees were insistent. Those who wanted to leave were eventually made to sign a statement saying that they were leaving the shelters voluntarily.

“We will still monitor them and give them food aid because food is still scarce at the mountain slopes,” a volunteer told Metro TV. Another shelter located in Tlogo village, Prambanan subdistrict, Klaten, was almost empty. Most of the 1,200 evacuees had returned to their homes, arguing that their cattle and fields were deserted.

Mount Merapi in 1920

File:COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Rijstvelden bij de vulkanen Merapi en Merbaboe op Java. TMnr 60007940.jpg

Mt. Merapi ca. 1920: Thilly Weissenborn (Fotograaf/photographer). Lux Fotostudio (Fotostudio).wikimedia commons

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