Deadly eruption of Mount Rokatenda (Paluweh), Indonesia

Deadly eruption of Mount Rokatenda (Paluweh), Indonesia

Mount Rokatenda also known as Paluweh volcano erupted on August 10, 2013 spewing hot ash and rocks high into the air. Volcanology centre head Surono said eruption sent fast-moving red-hot ash onto nearby beach killing five people (three adults and two children). Other reports mention 6 casualties.

Rokatenda is erupting with fierce explosions for many months. It has been on high alert (Siaga, 3/4) since October 2012. Authorities banned people from any activity within three kilometers from the crater. Mr Surono said people were killed within exclusion zone and added it was not clear what the people were doing in the restricted area.

The volcano began erupting at 20:27 UTC (August 9) / 04:27 am local time on August 10, and continued for nearly 4 hours. Sources are reporting that the ash cloud went 2000 meter above the crater. These clouds are normally not very damaging, but the pyroclastic flows down the hills are extremely dangerous.

Darwin VAAC reported today at 07:32 UTC that volcanic ash cloud is extenting 70NM to the west. Aviation color code is ORANGE.

Rokatenda, forms the 8-km-wide island of Paluweh N of the volcanic arc that cuts across Flores Island. Although the volcano rises about 3,000 m above the sea floor, its summit reaches only 875 m above sea level. The broad irregular summit region contains overlapping craters up to 900 m wide and several lava domes. Several flank vents occur along a NW-trending fissure.

The largest historical eruption of Paluweh occurred in 1928, when a strong explosive eruption was accompanied by landslide-induced tsunamis and lava-dome emplacement.

Featured image: A NASA satellite image of Rokatenda Meletos or Paluweh volcano as captured on February 12, 2013

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