Significant eruption, pyroclastic flow at Sinabung volcano, Indonesia


A significant eruption took place at the Indonesian Sinabung volcano at 16:35 UTC on June 6, 2021, producing a pyroclastic flow and ejecting volcanic ash up to 9.1 km (30 000 feet) above sea level. 

The eruption lasted for 421 seconds and was not clearly observable due to fog and clouds.

Three volcanic ash levels were observed at 21:40 UTC — to 9.1 km (30 000 feet) a.s.l. moving WSW, 7.3 km (24 000 feet) a.s.l. moving W and to 4.2 km (14 000 feet) a.s.l. moving N.

The Aviation Color Code was raised to Red at 17:53 UTC and lowered back to Orange at 06:25 on June 7.

The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1 – 4), with a general exclusion zone of 3 km (1.8 miles) and extensions to 5 km (3.1 miles) in the SE sector and 4 km (2.5 miles) in the NE sector.

In the event of ashfall, people are advised to wear masks when leaving the house to reduce the health impact of volcanic ash. Secure drinking water facilities and clean roofs of houses from heavy volcanic ash so that they do not collapse.

People who live near rivers that originate at Mount Sinabung are advised to stay alert to the dangers of lahars.

Geological summary

Gunung Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano with many lava flows on its flanks. The migration of summit vents along a N-S line gives the summit crater complex an elongated form.

The youngest crater of this conical, 2 460 m (8 070 feet) high andesitic-to-dacitic volcano is at the southern end of the four overlapping summit craters.

An unconfirmed eruption was noted in 1881, and solfataric activity was seen at the summit and upper flanks in 1912.

No confirmed historical eruptions were recorded prior to explosive eruptions during August – September 2010 that produced ash plumes to 5 km (16 404 feet) above the summit. (GVP)

Featured image: Sinabung volcano on May 7, 2021. Credit: Nachelle Homestay Tour and Travel

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