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Sinabung volcano
Stratovolcano 2460 m (8,071 ft)
Sumatra, Indonesia, 3.17°N / 98.39°E
Current status: restless (2 out of 5)
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Sinabung volcano eruptions:
2013-ongoing, 2010
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Sinabung volcano (Sumatra): eruption news and activity updates

Sinabung volcano (Sumatra, Indonesia): larger-than-average pyroclastic flow claims at least 3 victims

Sunday May 22, 2016 16:49 PM | BY: T

The deadly pyroclastic flow at Sinabung yesterday (image: PVMBG)
The deadly pyroclastic flow at Sinabung yesterday (image: PVMBG)
A series of pyroclastic flows occurred yesterday afternoon - sadly, at least one of them was was much larger than most others during the past months and claimed several fatalities among local farmers who were working on their fields within the exclusion zone, approx. 4 km from the volcano. The latest update includes 7 dead and at least 2 badly bunt among the victims.

The pyroclastic flows - turbulent avalanches of hot debris and ash, caused by partial collapses of the slowly growing lava dome and its over-spilling lava lobes on the upper steep flanks - occurred in a series at 14:28, 15:08 and 16:39 local time.
The first of them appears to have been the largest in the series (although clouds obscured views after the first one). The flow reached 4500 m distance (significantly more than any other recent one, compared to averages of 2000-3500 m of similar flows during the past months). Presumably it also was the one that killed the villagers and burnt at least 4 others. All of the victims were caught by surprise (and had no chance of outrunning the flow) while working on their fields within the (unfortunately no longer much enforced) exclusion zone near the former (now officially evacuated) village of Kabanjahean.

This sad incident shows once more that dome-building eruptions, even when the volcano is in a comparably low phase of activity (as Sinabung has been during the past year or more), they remain extremely dangerous. Erupted viscous (sticky) lava accumulated on the top of the volcano retains much of its gasses for a long time, and once larger pieces of it break off, simply by gravitational instability, the gasses trapped inside the rock fragment it, which increases the fluidization of the avalanche, enabling it to reach great speed and distances of many kilometers.
Previous news
Eruption of Sinabung this morning (image: PVMBG / facebook)
Monday, May 16, 2016
Two small to moderately sized pyroclastic flows occurred this morning at the volcano. ... [more]
Explosion at Sinabung volcano in the morning of 11 May 2016 (PVMBG)
Friday, May 13, 2016
The explosive / effusive eruption continues with little changes. Rising viscous lava accumulates in the summit crater where as a dome; intermittently, it produces small to moderate explosions (ash plumes rising 1-2 km) and incandescent rockfalls and/or small pyroclastic flows on the eastern side where the crater is breached. ... [more]
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
No significant changes in activity have occurred recently. The volcano continues to produce occasional small to moderate vulcanian-type explosions, at rates of typically one or two per day, with ash plumes that rise 1-1.5 km above the crater. ... [more]
Explosion from Sinabung last Friday
Sunday, Apr 24, 2016
The volcano's current and long-lasting eruption (now well in its 3rd year) continues essentially unchanged: viscous lava slowly rises into the summit crater, building up a complex dome that over-spills as sticky lobes onto sections of the upper outer slopes on the southeastern side. ... [more]
Thursday, Mar 31, 2016
The volcano continues to produce explosions and occasional small to moderate pyroclastic flows. ... [more]

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