Volcanic eruption rocks Eastern Indonesia

A powerful volcanic eruption has struck eastern Indonesia, as Mount Ibu, located on the island of Halmahera in North Maluku province, unleashed three massive blasts on Thursday.

The eruptions sent a towering ash column over 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) into the sky, spewed lava, and sparked lightning, prompting warnings and evacuation orders for nearby residents and tourists.

“The alert status of the volcano is still level four or the highest,” Heruningtyas Desi Purnamasari, an official at PVMBG, told Reuters.

The first eruption occurred at 1:30 a.m local time, spewing incandescent lava and rocks as lightning flashes lit up its crater. The second eruption followed at 7:46 a.m local time, lasting for two minutes and shooting volcanic ash as high as 1,200m (4,000 feet). A third eruption occurred at 8:11 am, with an ash column observed around 1,000 meters above the peak.

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The Geological Agency advised residents and tourists to stay out of an exclusion zone between four and seven kilometers from Ibu’s crater and to wear eye and mouth coverings when outdoors. While no new evacuation orders were issued, the agency warned of potential further eruptions.

Mount Ibu is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, having erupted over 21,000 times last year. Its latest eruptions have raised concerns among authorities and residents, given its history of violent activity. Indonesia, situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, frequently experiences seismic and volcanic activity, making it a hotspot for natural disasters.

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