Sinabung volcano (Sumatra): eruption news and activity updates
Sinabung volcano (Karo prov., Sumatra, Indonesia): increasing pyroclastic flows
Wednesday Jan 15, 2014 13:55 PM | BY: T
Large pyroclastic flow from Sinabung volcano today around noon
The volcano's eruption continues at elevated levels similar to the past days. The growing lava dome produces frequent small to medium-sized pyroclastic flows, sometimes surpassing 5 km length (see the flow at 13:15-16 local time in the following time-lapse video of today's activity):
Pyroclastic flow from Sinabung this morning
Thus, the flows approach the current limits of the exclusion zone (5 km, 7 km on SE side) and it would be wise to extend it to at least 10 km, although the logistic and social problems and side-effects involved would be immense. Already more than 26,000 people are now listed as evacuees and authorities make efforts to establish emergency escape routes in the 10 km radius zone everyone should know.
It is impossible to predict how the volcano's eruption will evolve. In addition to the pyroclastic flows caused by collapses of the highly unstable growing lava dome, the vents show a tendency towards increasing ash venting and explosions. One scenario could be the re-appearance of larger explosions, which would destroy the lava dome and possibly produce pyroclastic flows that well surpass the ones currently seen, as happened in the deadly Merapi 2010 eruption.
Another, perhaps more likely scenario, is that the dome continues to grow and possibly increased speed and pyroclastic flows gradually become stronger until, at some point, the magma output decreases until the eruption ends.
Given the likely heavy rainfalls in the coming weeks, the eruption could hot have occurred at a worse time, because it will generate destructive lahars (mud flows) as well.
Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014
After a few days of deceiving calm, the eruption of the volcano intensified again today and produced the so-far largest pyroclastic flows, reaching probably more than 5-6 km in length, and associated ash plumes that rose to approx. 25,000 ft (8 km) altitude: ... [more]
Monday, Jan 13, 2014
The number of refugees to this day is as much as 25,810, from a total of 8,040 households, in 38 refugee camps. The lava dome seems to have decreased its activity, as no more significant pyroclastic flows occurred over the past 1-2 days. However, seismic activity remains high and it is too early to predict a near end of the eruption. It could even be a precursor to more violent explosive activity if the apparent calm at the moment is simply due to the fact that the degassing / effusion process in the past weeks has become inhibited by a plug of more viscous lava under which pressure is building up. ... [more]
Sunday, Jan 12, 2014
Activity at the volcano remains unchanged. Eruptions with frequent small to medium-sized pyroclastic flows (up to 4-5 km length) continue and more than 25,000 people are reported evacuated. Problems caused by the extensive damage to crops and structures, health and infrastructure problems caused by the ongoing crisis with ash everywhere are increasing. ... [more]
Saturday, Jan 11, 2014
The volcano continues to be very active with viscous lava extruded at the new dome, which frequently collapses to form hot avalanches (pyroclastic flows) that generate ash plumes rising up to a few km. ... [more]
Friday, Jan 10, 2014
Activity of the volcano has remained similar to the previous days. The actively growing lava dome, being a mass of unstable, moderately viscous lava, frequently collapses in parts and produces hot bloack and ash avalanches (pyroclastic flows) that reached up to 4.5 km distance. According to the latest figures, the number of refugees from the 5-7 km exclusion zone has reached approx. 25,000. [more]