Massive eruption at Ruang volcano forces mass evacuation, ash to 16.7 km (55 000 feet) a.s.l., Indonesia

ruang volcano eruption april 16 2024 f

A series of powerful eruptions took place at Ruang volcano in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province starting at 17:08 UTC on April 16, 2024 (01:08 LT, April 17). As a result, the Aviation Color Code was raised to Red, the Alert Level to 3 of 4, and local authorities started evacuating more than 800 people living on the island as a preventive measure. The last eruptive episode at this volcano was in September 2002 (VEI 4).

Authorities have raised the alert level to the second highest level (3 of 4), Heruningtyas Desi Purnamasari, an official at Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) said, adding that the eruptions were triggered by recent earthquakes on the island.

“We must clear the island [population ~838] because we anticipate there could be more eruptions. No activity is allowed within 4 km (2.5 miles) from the crater,” she said.

According to the Darwin VAAC Volcanic Ash Advisory released at 18:50 UTC, a volcanic ash plume to 12.2 km (40 000 feet) above sea level detached from the summit and was expected to dissipate within 9 – 12 hours. Meanwhile, volcanic ash to 3 km (10 000 feet) a.s.l. — moving SW — is expected to dissipate within 6 hours.

Darwin VAAC advisory released at 23:13 UTC mentions volcanic ash plume rising to 13.7 km (45 000 feet) a.s.l. and moving W/NW, while low-level eruptions to 5 and 1.5 km (15 000 and 5 000 feet) a.s.l. continue at the volcano.

At 15:10 UTC, the volcanic ash cloud reached 16.7 km (55 000 feet) a.s.l.

ruang volcano eruption april 16 2024 bg
Ruang volcano eruption on April 16, 2024 (UTC). Credit: PVMBG

The last eruptive episode at the volcano took place from September 25 to 29, 2002, and had an estimated Volcanic Explosivity Index of 4.

Ruang is the southernmost volcano in the Sangihe Island arc, north of Sulawesi Island; it is not the better-known Raung volcano on Java. The 4 x 5 km (2.5 x 3.1 miles) island volcano is across a narrow strait SW of the larger Tagulandang Island.

Its summit contains a crater partially filled by a lava dome initially emplaced in 1904. Explosive eruptions recorded since 1808 have often been accompanied by lava dome formation and pyroclastic flows that have damaged inhabited areas.


07:28 UTC, April 18

According to Darwin VAAC Volcanic Ash Advisory released at 05:30 UTC on April 18, volcanic ash to 16.7 km (55 000 feet) a.s.l. is moving west, volcanic ash to 12.2 km (40 000 feet) a.s.l. is also moving west and is expected to dissipate within 6 hours; while volcanic ash to 7.6 km (25 000 feet) a.s.l. is moving east. Localized volcanic ash emissions to 4.6 km (15 000 feet) a.s.l. are expected over the next 18 hours.

The Alert Level was raised to the highest — 4 of 4 — and the airport in Manado, located about 100 km (62 miles) SSE of the volcano, was temporarily closed.

ruang volcano eruption april 17 2024
Ruang volcano eruption on April 17, 2024. Image credit: PVMBG
so2 produced by eruption at ruang volcano - acquired at 2010 utc on april 17 2024
SO2 produced by the eruption at Ruang volcano, Indonesia. Image credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 20:10 UTC on April 17, 2024

A warning was also issued about a possible tsunami. “The communities in Tagulandang island, particularly those residing near the beach, should be on alert for the potential ejection of incandescent rocks, hot clouds discharges, and tsunami caused by the collapse of the volcano’s body into the sea,” Hendra Gunawan, head of Indonesia’s volcanology agency, said on Wednesday.

Tourists and residents were ordered to remain outside a 6 km (3.7 miles) exclusion zone.

Evacuation orders now cover at least 11 000 residents from nearby areas, including the island of Tagulandang with a population of around 20 000.

“Last night people evacuated on their own but without direction due to the volcano’s eruption and materials in the form of small rocks that fell, so the people scattered to find evacuation routes,” said Jandry Paendong, an official from the local search and rescue agency, in a statement on today.

Paendong called for more boats and equipment so his team could carry out evacuation for people on the coast or near the coast facing the volcano.


1 Darwin VAAC advisories released on April 16 and 17, 2024

2 Hundreds evacuated after Indonesia’s Ruang volcano erupts – Reuters – April 17, 2024

3 Geological summary for Ruang volcano – GVP

4 Mount Ruang eruption: Indonesia evacuates thousands, closes airport near volcano – AFP – April 18, 2024


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  1. For many years, I have been saying that during the full-blown war of the Middle East, many volcanoes around the world are erupting, and the eruption of Yellowstone will mark the start of the war of liberation of Iraq.

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