Friday, April 15, 2005

Increased activity spotted in two more volcanoes, another disaster?

Two volcanoes in the western part of the island of Java (the most populated island in the world with more than 120 million population) have registered increased activity on Wednesday, only a day after the Mt. Talang volcano erupted in West Sumatra, sparking fear that more terrifying natural disasters would soon rock the country that just severely hit by tsunami in Aceh.

A government official imposed an alert status for Mt. Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait on Wednesday morning after 32 mild earthquakes rattled the volcano's crater. An alert status is issued whenever a series of earthquakes in the area of a volcano occurs, followed by an increase in temperature.

"Over the past two weeks, mild earthquakes have occurred two to nine times a day, but suddenly today 32 earthquakes were registered," said Surono, a volcanology and geological disaster mitigation official as quoted by The Jakarta Post (

Similarly, increased activity was also found in the Mt. Tangkuban Perahu volcano near Bandung, some hundreds of kilometers east of Mt. Anak Krakatau. While on normal days earthquakes from the volcano happened between two and seven times a day, on Wednesday 100 earthquakes were recorded, according to Surono.

On Wednesday, Government officials asked 150 local and foreign tourists to stay away from the crater of Mt. Tangkuban Perahu.

The volcano, a smoldering 2,076-meter high mountain located near densely populated Bandung city, last erupted two years ago. The other volcano, Anak Krakatau, last erupted four years ago, spewing hot ash and black smoke.

Syamsul has speculated that the Mt. Talang eruption and the increased activity on Mt. Tangkuban Perahu and Anak Krakatau were closely related to the series of huge earthquakes that rocked Aceh and Nias island recently.

Koran Tempo ( even reported today that nine volcanoes have shown increased activities recently. Two of them already put in alert status. They are Mt Lokon, near the beautiful Tondano lake and Dukono Mt in northern part of Halmahera Island in Maluku Islands.

Over a century ago, on August 26,1883, the island volcano of Krakatau, a virtually unknown volcanic island with a history of violent volcanic activity, exploded with devastating fury. The eruption was one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in recorded history. The effects were experienced on a global scale. Fine ashes from the eruption were carried by upper level winds as far away as New York City. The explosion was heard more than 3000 miles away. Volcanic dust blew into the upper atmosphere affecting incoming solar radiation and the earth's weather for several years.

A series of large tsunami waves generated by the main explosion, some reaching a height of nearly 40 meters (more than 120 feet) above sea level, killed more than 36,000 people in the coastal towns and villages along the Sunda Strait on Java and Sumatra islands. Tsunami waves were recorded or observed throughout the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the American West Coast, South America, and even as far away as the English Channel.



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