Indonesia’s volatile Mt. Lokon volcano, in N. Sulawesi, erupts again

Monday, October 8, 2012
By Paul Martin
October 8, 2012

INDONESIA – One of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes has erupted again, spewing clouds of ash, an official has said. In September, the volcano erupted 41 times. The 1580 meter (5,214 feet) Mount Lokon on northeast Sulawesi Island erupted at 2pm local time on Sunday with thunderous sounds heard as far as five kilometers away. “Lokon has been quite active the past few months. This was the seventh biggest eruption since mid-September,” government vulcanologist Farid Bina told AFP from the volcano’s monitoring post in North Sulawesi province. “It produced a loud sound like thunder. But we cannot detect the height of the eruption as thick clouds covered its peak,” he said, adding that muddy rains fell in surrounding areas. There was no plan to upgrade the volcano’s alert level despite the series of eruptions, he said, adding that the nearest village of 250 people was outside the 2.5 kilometer danger zone. The volcano experienced its biggest recent eruption in July 2011, when more than 5200 people were evacuated as it sent huge clouds of ash as high as 3500 meters into the sky. Since then Mount Lokon has erupted and spewed clouds of ash about 600 times. The volcano’s last deadly eruption was in 1991, when it killed a Swiss tourist. The Indonesian archipelago has dozens of active volcanoes and straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the “Ring of Fire” between the Pacific and Indian oceans. The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions last year. –

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