Eruption of Mount Marapi places four regions in West Sumatra on alert

Eruption of Mount Marapi places four regions in West Sumatra on alert

Sumatra's Mount Marapi volcano erupted 4 times on Sunday, June 4, 2017, forcing authorities to place four surrounding regions on alert.

The first eruption occurred at 15:01 UTC (22:01 WIB), producing a thick column of ash up to 300 m (984 feet) above the crater. The second, more powerful, eruption occurred at 15:22 UTC, with an ash plume up to 700 m (2 300 feet), PVMBG said. The third eruption took place at 15:46 UTC, with volcanic ashes up to 400 meters (1 312 feet).

Mr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesperson for BNPB (National Agency for Disaster Management), said the volcanic ash was heading toward Batu Sangkar. Sutopo said that the volcano remains at alert level 2 (waspada) and reminded everybody to respect the exclusion zone of 3 km (1.9 miles) around the summit.

The eruptions placed 4 surrounding regions on alert; Tanah Datar, Agam, Bukittinggi city, and Padang Panjang.

"We don't expect any disaster, but we have to be alert," BPBD West Sumatra said.

West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno called people living near the volcano to increase alertness but to remain calm.

Media reports mention at least 16 climbers were near the summit when the first eruption took place. 8 of them had to be rescued. There are no reports of injuries.

Geological summary

Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra's most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2000 m above the Bukittinggi plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west.

More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

Featured image: Climbers near the summit of Mount Marapi, Sumatra, Indonesia during eruption on June 4, 2017. Credit: Bayu Aldrich

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