UPDATE: Soputan volcano has been erupting with increasing strength all day and into the evening on Oct. 3. Following the first eruption came a second at 10:44 a.m., with an ash column of around 2,000 m (6,560 feet) observed above the peak. A third eruption followed at 11:12 a.m. with an ash column height observed around 2,500 m (8,200 feet) above the summit and at 11:52 p.m., a fourth eruption expelled an ash column observed to be around 5000 m (16,400 feet) above the peak. Soputan is 1,419 m (4,655 feet) above sea level.
Erupsi Gunung Soputan, Sulawesi Utara malam ini. Teramati ketinggian kolom abu erupsi pada kisaran 4000-6000 m di atas puncak (5800-7800 m di atas permukaan laut). Aliran Lava Pijar teramati ke arah Timurlaut sejauh lk. 2500 m dari puncak. pic.twitter.com/HVomtzWa0Z
Into the evening, Soputan volcano erupted again, expelling an ash cloud to a height of up to 6000 m (19,700 feet) above the summit. Lava could be seen flowing down the northeast slope of the volcano as far as 2,500 m (8,200 feet) from the summit.
One of the volcanos in the north of Sulawesi island in Indonesia has erupted after months of increased activity. The eruption comes just days after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the westerns reaches of Sulawesi, killing more than 1,300 people.
Soputan volcano erupted at 8:47 a.m. local time on the morning of Oct. 3. The eruption was accompanied by an ash plume with a height of 6,000 meters (19,700 feet), sparking a code Red warning for air traffic in the area. Footage of the ash cloud was captured by locals on their phones.
The seismic activity was reported as a continuous tremor, according to Indonesia’s Multiplatform Application for Geohazard Mitigation and Assessment (MAGMA) program, which is part of its Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG). Reports said that ash emissions were continuing to be expelled from the volcano.
Gunung Soputan di Minahasa Tenggara Provinsi Sulawesi Utara meletus pada 3/10/2018 pukul 08.47 WITA. Tinggi kolom abu vulkanik 4.000 meter mengarahnke barat-barat laut. PVMBG mencatat amplitudo maksimum 39 mm dan durasi sekitar 6 menit. Belum ada perlu pengungsian. pic.twitter.com/LWN4N22gcu
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) October 3, 2018
Local volcanologists with the PVMBG had been warning hours before the eruption that “the potential for an eruption at Soputan has increased” after they reported signs of greater thermal and seismic activity at the site. As a result, an exclusion zone and a Level III standby warning had been put in place around the volcano just hours before the explosion.
Peringatan Dini: Status Gunung Soputan di Sulawesi Utara dinaikkan dari Level II (Waspada) ke Level III (Siaga) terhitung mulai tanggal 3 Oktober 2018 pukul 01:00 WITA. Zona bahaya radius 4 km dengan perluasan sektoral sejauh 6.5 km dari puncak ke Barat-Baratdaya. VONA Yellow. pic.twitter.com/4IJKNNvlE1
— MAGMA Indonesia (@id_magma) October 2, 2018
MAGMA tweeted that the four kilometer exclusion zone remained in place, and has been increased to 6.5 kilometers on the west-southwest slopes, in order to avoid the threat of lava and pyroclastic clouds from the stratovolcano. Historically, eruptions at Soputan volcano have been characterized by hot pyroclastic clouds and lava flows on the west-southwest, north and east of the dome.
Saat ini G. Soputan berada pada Status Level III (Siaga) dengan rekomendasi, masyarakat agar tidak beraktivitas dalam radius 4 km dari puncak dan area perluasan sektoral ke arah Barat-Baratdaya sejauh 6,5 km, untuk menghindari potensi ancaman guguran lava maupun awan panas.
— MAGMA Indonesia (@id_magma) October 3, 2018
Locals have been recommended to wear masks cover the nose and mouth to reduce respiratory agitation from the ash. No evacuation has been ordered at this time.
While the population surrounding Soputan was not impacted by the tsunami that killed more than 1,300 people in the island’s west, the whole area has been experiencing significant seismic activity and tremors. Soputan volcano is about 600 km northeast of Palu and surrounding tsunami-struck areas where rescue operations continue in the hopes of finding survivors.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said late on Oct. 2 that rescuers had reached all four of the island’s districts that were badly affected by the Sept. 28 earthquake and tsunami. Together, the districts have a population of 1.4 million.
“We hope the death toll does not rise,” he said. “We’re continuing rescue operations but right now the team is racing against time.”
He gave few details of the conditions rescuers had found, saying they were similar to those in Palu, where the quake brought down hotels, shopping malls, and countless houses, while tsunami waves as high as six meters (20 feet) scoured its beachfront shortly afterwards.
Reuters contributed to this article.
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