Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia Forces Panicked Evacuation for Nearby Residents

Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 5 & 6) Mount Sinabung erupted over 50 times, spitting lava and clouds of gas up to 13,000 ft in the air and as far as three miles from the crater. According to the Guardian,

Men with ash-covered faces streamed down the scorched slopes on motorcycles, followed by truckloads of women and children, many crying. Officials shouted instructions on megaphones as stones and debris rained from the sky.”

Jewara and Pintu Besi are two villages located about 4 miles from the crater; after the eruption the homes and farms in these villages were caked in grey dust. During the eruption Soldiers evacuated more than 20,000 people from these villages into several temporary shelters.

Mount Sinabung is one of about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, this area of the world and specifically Indonesia is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “ring of fire” (an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific basin). The volcano has been erupting since September so the eruption did not come as a surprise, although the magnitude of the eruption was greater than anticipated.

In 2010 an eruption from Mount Sinabung surprised even scientist and killed two people, due to the fact that Mount Sinabung had been quiet for over four centuries prior to this eruption in 2010.

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