Sumatra’s Mount Sinabung Erupts

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Turning daytime skies to night and prompting warnings to be issued to airlines, the volcanic eruption of Mount Sinabung is the largest one this year in Sumatra, Indonesia. Those living nearby were gradually evacuated before the major eruption on Monday morning. Volcanic ash flight warnings were issued to the highest level by Indonesia on Monday after five nearby districts saw the skies darken dramatically, with a visibility of about 5 metres.

Mount Sinabung, a classic stratovolcano which has been relatively active over the last few years, is located roughly 50km southwest of Medan, and almost due west from Greater Kuala Lumpur, only about 350km away. A massive eruption on 19 February ejected over 1.6 million cubic meters of rock and other material from the mountain, resulting in some truly spectacular videos and images now coming out of North Sumatra.

According to The Guardian, The Australian weather bureau’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VACC) released maps showing the ash cloud due north, northwest, and southeast. Indonesia’s Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (Vona) issued the highest warning, “red warning” with the ash cloud reaching approximately 7.3km.

Indonesia’s Disaster Agency spokesperson, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said the Monday morning eruption showered surrounding villages with small rocks and that multiple earthquakes were felt as well.

Japanese weather satellite Himawari-8 revealed time-lapse footage showing the moment Mount Sinabung began to rapidly produce huge clouds of ash and debris.

Thankfully, no fatalities have been reported at this time, but the public is advised by the agency to keep out of the 7-km exclusion zone around the crater and to keep an eye out for warnings issued, which could also include flooding.

Areas around the crater of the volcano have been off-limits for several years due to frequent volcanic activity.

According to The Independent, Mount Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.


Mount Sinabung in Numbers

  • The erupting Mount Sinabung is an 8,000-foot (about 2,500m) stratovolcano in North Sumatra, Indonesia.
  • It’s one of three volcanoes currently erupting in Indonesia.
  • It was dormant for four centuries before exploding in 2010, killing two people.
  • Another eruption in 2014 left 16 people dead.
  • Seven died when it erupted in 2016.
  • The volcano has been relatively active since 2013.
  • Some 30,000 people have been forced to leave homes around the mountain in the past few years ahead of the eruption.
  • The eruption has sent volcanic ash 7km into the atmosphere.
  • This was followed by hot clouds with a reach northeast as far as 3.5km and south as far as 4.9km.

The Aftermath

Photos have emerged following the eruption, with Indonesia’s Centre for Volcanic and Geological Hazard Mitigation revealing that a large chunk at the peak has been “completely annihilated”. This before and after image by the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation shows the scale of the eruption’s power.

Pictures and videos of children running and evacuating schools have emerged. Most villages in North Sumatra were seen covered in a blanket of ash, including houses, buildings, roads, and crops. Here are some images taken from and Quartz.

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Hantar kopassus, sinabung bisa aman.


Remember when we got told to evacuate Berestagi Sofie Møller Hansen!!!! 2 cm of volcanic ash like a carpet of stinky snow.


damn we went too early Feli


We could’ve shoot even more awesome photos 😂

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