Indonesia: Mount Ruang erupts again with alert status at highest

Ruang is one of around 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia.
Indonesia: Mount Ruang erupts again with alert status at highest

Mount Ruang in Indonesia erupted for the second time in two weeks on Tuesday, sending ash nearly two kilometres (more than a mile) into the sky, closing an airport and littering local towns with debris. The Indonesian Geological Department upped the alert level for Sulawesi Island's volcano to the highest level after sensors detected increased volcanic activity. The agency advised residents and climbers to keep at least 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) from the volcano's crater.

North Sulawesi's 725-metre (2,378-foot) volcano is located approximately 95 kilometres (59 miles) northeast of Manado's Sam Ratulangi International Airport. The airport was closed Tuesday morning due to poor visibility and ash sitting on aircraft engines, according to Ambar Suryoko, chairman of the regional airport authority. Ash, grit, and rock dropped from the skies in towns and cities throughout the region, including Manado, a city of over 430,000 people, forcing vehicles to turn on their headlights during the day.

« It was dark with rocks raining down on the post from the eruption, » said Yulius Ramopolii, the head of the Mount Ruang monitoring station. "The vibrations were intense and knocked out power, and volcanic earthquakes shook the glass windows and everything around us." He claimed that the eruption blacked out the sun and pounded numerous settlements with falling debris. Ramopolii confirmed that no casualties had been reported.

More than 11,000 people had fled following the April 17 eruption, when authorities warned that a big eruption may collapse part of the volcano into the sea, causing a tsunami that could threaten nearby villages. Less than 3,000 people remained in temporary shelters after the government reduced its alert level to the second highest of four levels and reopened the airport after four days.

On Tuesday, Indonesia's geological agency cautioned people on Tagulandang Island, particularly those who live near the coast, of the possibility of hot volcanic clouds and a tsunami as a result of material eruptions into the sea or the collapse of a volcanic dome. Ruang is one of around 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," which runs from the western shores of the Americas to Japan and Southeast Asia, the archipelagic nation is prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.


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