Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mount Lokon Volcano spews ASH 15 km into the Air - 12th July 2011

Indonesia’s Mount Lokon, which is located on the northern tip of the island of Sulawesi, erupted Monday promptingo fficials to warn of possible disruption to air traffic in the region.

Indonesian Transportation Ministry’s Public Communication Center chief Bambang S. Ervan said volcanic ash reached 50,000 feet into the air after its latest eruptions, Antara news agency reported. Bambang also warned air traffic networks to avoid flying through the area and to take extra precautions.

In its ‘Notice to Airman,’ the Transportation Ministry established the eruption’s danger zone of 10 Nautical Miles, or some 18.52 kilometres (11.5 miles) from Mount Lokon. Meanwhile, local authorities said about 7,000 inhabitants, who reside near the foot of Mount Lokon, namely those in the Kakaskasen and Kinilow areas, will be evacuated starting Tuesday morning.

Residents had been advised to evacuate the area since Monday night, as Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency’s (BNPB) Data Center Chief Sutopo Purwon Nugroho said officials had established Lokon’s evacuation zone to at least 3.5 kilometre (2.2 mile) radius from its crater. He also urged resident to be aware of further eruptions, possible lava flow through a river, which flows down from Lokon’s peak, as well as dust, sand, and rock rains.

Tuesday’s evacuation will be carried out with dozens of school buses, cars, and trucks, which have already been lined up at the local search and rescue agency. Three evacuation centers are also being prepared in which several tents have been set up.

Earlier, BNPB raised the volcano’s alert level status after Mount Lokon, which is 1,500 metres (4,921 feet) high, increased its volcanic activity. Since 12:40 a.m. local time, it spewed varied amounts of ash until erupting at 3:50 p.m., producing a thick brownish volcanic ash cloud, North Sulawesi Volcanic Monitoring Post Farid Ruskanda Bina said.

Farid said the exact height of the the ash cloud could not be determined because the eruption was fresh. He did underline, however, that the eruption was big. Read More