Volcano news: Soputan
Soputan volcano (N-Sulawesi, Indonesia): strong vulcanian eruption this morning, ash to 6 km altitude
As the last attached photo shows, a collapse of parts of the eruption column caused a pyroclastic flow on the western side.
VAAC Darwin reported the plume height to reach 20,000 ft and drifting NE. Sam Ratulangi International Airport in Manado City continues to operate normally.
Recordings from from the local volcano observatory shows that there had been a light increase in seismic activity under the volcano during the previous days, but the eruption came apparently as a surprise.
No injuries or damage were reported from the eruption. Indonesia's Civil Protection BNPB declared a 4 km exclusion zone in a circle around the crater, extended to 6.5 km in the NW sector. Local communities were warned of potential pyroclastic flows (hot avalanches of blocks, ash and gas) and mud flows that could occur as as result of the eruption, especially in the rivers upstream around the slopes of Mount Soputan, such as Ranowangko River, Lawian River, Popang River and Londola Kelewahu.
The volcano's alert level was eraised to the second highest 3 ("siaga" - standby) on a scale of 1-4.
Possible connection with Sulawesi earthquake?
The volcano lies on the same island as Friday's catastrophic M7.4 earthquake near Palu at about 600 km distance to the ENE. The earthquake had caused a tsunami which had claimed more than 1000 lives. Whether the two events are linked is impossible to say at the moment, but large earthquakes such as this are known to be able to help trigger volcanic eruptions in certain cases (when the volcano is "ready" to erupt anyway).
The small Soputan stratovolcano on the southern rim of the Quaternary Tondano caldera on the northern arm of Sulawesi Island is one of Sulawesi's most active volcanoes. The youthful, largely unvegetated volcano rises to 1784 m and is located SW of Sempu volcano. It was constructed at the southern end of a SSW-NNE trending line of vents. During historical time the locus of eruptions has included both the summit crater and Aeseput, a prominent NE-flank vent that formed in 1906 and was the source of intermittent major lava flows until 1924.
Source: GVP, Smithsonian Institution