Volcano news: Soputan
Soputan volcano (N-Sulawesi, Indonesia): violent eruption with lava fountains this morning
Following more than two months of relative quiet after the brief eruption during 3-4 October this year, seismic activity increased rapidly from 17:00 local time yesterday afternoon, followed by the start of the eruption at 01:00 local time this morning.
The volcano observatory reports it was "accompanied by thunderous sounds that were heard with a moderate intensity from the Soputan Volcano Observation Post located in Silian Raya (about 10 km southwest of G. Soputan)."
The height of the eruption column was observed because the volcano was covered in fog. At 3:09 a.m. this morning, bright incandescence from lava fountaining was seen above the peak of the volcano and the height of the eruption column could be estimated to be approx. 3,000 m above the summit (i.e. reaching approx 5 km altitude). Being thick gray in color, it bended towards the southeast.
"At 05:40 (local time), the eruption column was ± 7,000 m above the peak (± 8,809 m above sea level) with a column of gray and thick intensity ash leaning to the southeast. ... Until now, continuous tremors continue to be recorded with the maximum amplitude (overscale) indicating that the eruption activity is still ongoing." (PVMBG)
The alert level of the volcano was raised to RED.
The volcano thus follows this year's trend in becoming more active: Monitoring data between August to early October 2018 showed a significant increase. On October 3, 2016 at 01:00 WITA the alert level of Gunung Soputan was increased from Level II (Waspada, "Watch") to Level III (Siaga, "Alert"). An eruption then occurred on October 3-4, 2018.
The status of G. Soputan is still being maintained at Level III (Siaga) and it is recommended not to approach the volcano within a radius of 4 km expanded to 6.5 km for the southwest-western sectors.
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