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Sinabung volcano
Stratovolcano 2460 m (8,071 ft)
Sumatra, Indonesia, 3.17°N / 98.39°E
Current status: erupting (4 out of 5)
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2013-ongoing, 2010
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Sinabung volcano (Sumatra): eruption news and activity updates

Sinabung volcano (Sumatra, Indonesia): alert level raised to maximum as risk of pyroclastic flows increases

Wed, 3 Jun 2015, 17:48
17:48 PM | BY: T
The lava lobe on Sinabung's upper SE flank on 3 June 2015 (Beidar Sinabung / facebook)
The lava lobe on Sinabung's upper SE flank on 3 June 2015 (Beidar Sinabung / facebook)
Rock avalanche on the ENE flank (Mbah Lëwå / facebook)
Rock avalanche on the ENE flank (Mbah Lëwå / facebook)
Number of rockfalls / pyroclastic flows since 2015 (PVMBG)
Number of rockfalls / pyroclastic flows since 2015 (PVMBG)
The alert level of the volcano was again raised from "siaga" to "awas", the highest on the Indonesian 1-4 scale. The reason is a currently elevated risk of possibly larger pyroclastic flows, that could be triggered by collapse of the increasing volume of the viscous lava lobe emplaced on the upper SE flank.

The alert level of the volcano had been at 4 during late Nov 2013 until April 2014,- the first and so far most violent phase of pyroclastic flow generation after the lava had spilled over the summit crater and built a large lobe that reached the base of the cone.
Since then, for more than a year now, lava effusion has continued at mild, more or less constant rate. Tremor data suggest that the supply rate of magma to the volcano's summit has been more or less constant during the past year.
This activity produced successive lava lobes on the upper flank, all on top and/or at the upper sides of the main flow emplaced during the first months of the eruption. Associated avalanches and pyroclastic flows had mostly been smaller in comparison, although a few larger ones occurred as well.

However, the number of rock avalanches and pyroclastic flows has not been constant over time. It shows an amazing cyclic pattern at a rhythm of approx. 4-5 weeks for each. This corresponds to alternating phases of slow growth of a lobe, during which relatively few rockfalls occur, and a following period when the lobe is being destroyed by more frequent rockfalls / pyroclastic flows of various sizes.
Different to the previous episodes, the current lobe which appeared in late April has now become significantly bigger than its predecessors. Therefore, it could in turn also produce much larger pyroclastic flows if it collapses. Its volume has been estimated to be approx. 3 million cubic meters, about twice as the previous lobe that formed during late March-April.
The current lobe has even become large enough to overspill to the ENE side where a number of rock avalanches and smaller pyroclastic flows have started to occur, in an area that has not been touched for months.
Authorities started to evacuate more than 1,800 people from several villages (Jeraya, Mardinding, Sukanalu, Sigarang-fierce, Kutagugung, Lau Kawar) and the exclusion zone was increased to 7 km distance from the summit in the SE sector of the volcano.
Links / Sources:
Previous news
Sun, 24 May 2015, 02:12
Small pyroclastic flow at Sinabung 21 May (photo: Leo Kennedy Adam / twitter)
The eruption continues with no significant changes. Viscous magma effuses slowly from the summit vent and continues to grow a new lava lobe on the upper southern flank. read all
Thu, 7 May 2015, 09:51
Sinabung's new lava lobe on 5 May 2015 (photo: Mbah Lëwå / facebook)
The lava dome and its viscous lobe continue to grow slowly at the summit. It is probably only a matter of time until new collapses again trigger potentially very dangerous. ... read all
Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 22:55
Pyroclastic flow at Sinabung yesterday at 18:20 (image: @endrolewa / twitter)
A series of strong pyroclastic flows occurred yesterday 28 April 2015, reaching 3-4.5 km distance. The largest, at 18:20 local time touched and burnt the (evacuated) village of Guru Kinayan on the southern slope of the volcano. read all
Thu, 2 Apr 2015, 10:39
The volcano continues to extrude viscous lava, feeding the lava dome occupying the summit crater and a new lava lobe on the upper eastern flank. ... read all
Mon, 30 Mar 2015, 08:23
Active lava lobe and incandescent rockfalls at Sinabung in March 2015 (photo: Bastien Poux)
The volcano continues to effuse a viscous lava lobe from its summit crater. Frequent rockfalls and pyroclastic flows occur due to partial collapses of the sticky lava masses on the steep upper slope. ... read all

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