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Mount Marapi spews volcanic ash twice on Sunday

4th March 2012 | 2.202 Views
Mount Marapi spews volcanic ash twice on Sunday
Mount Marapi. (ANTARA/Arif Pribadi)
Bukittinggi, West Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Mount Marapi in West Sumatra spewed volcanic ash twice on Sunday respectively at 11:10am and 11:18am Western Indonesian Standard time (WIB), a Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Agency official said.

"The volcanic ash spewed up to 2,891 meter-high above the sea level (mdpl) led to the south for about ten kilometers," the Bukittinggi`s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Agency (PVMBG) officer Suparmo said here on Sunday.

According to him, the Sunday`s volcanic ash outburst was stronger compared to that of a couple of days ago.

PVMBG has banned people from hiking more than three kilometers towards the mountain peak, Suparno said, adding the mount is still put on the level II alert status.

Suparno pointed out, since the Merapi`s level of status start rising in August 2011, Mount Merapi spews its volcanic ash nearly every day.

Communities and climbers are also expected not to enter the area within the radius of three kilometers from the mountain top.

Volcanic ashes are mostly spewed everyday from the volcano`s crater ever since Mount Marapi activity increased. It belched sulfurous volcanic ashes as high as 1,000 meters. The ashes spread through a number of nearby districts such as Agam, Tanahdatar, Padangpariaman and Padangpanjang districts.

"But the volcano`s current activity is showing a downward trend," he said.

In monitoring the mountain that lies between Mount Singgalang and Tandikek, the agency has installed a seismometer and a digital analog devices in Nagari Batu Palano and in Nagari Lasi.

"Eruptions could occur anytime and increase in frequency despite the absence of eruption lately, he said.

"We cannot predict Marapi`s activity, it could erupt tomorrow or the day after tomorrow," Suparmo said.

However, if it does erupt again, it will be small one and would not belch volcanic materials more than 200 meters high, he said.

Residents living nearby the mountains are advised to remain alert because the mountain could erupt at anytime without showing any signs.

Mount Marapi area is also a conservation area in West Sumatra, namely the Merapi Nature Reserve. As from the late 18th century to 2008 the volcano has erupted 454 times, 50 of them were on a large scale.

Bukittinggi`s Mount Marapi last erupted in 2005. When it was put on an alert status, the City of Bukittinggi is prepared to be one of the areas for evacuation.