Indonesia’s Mount Ibu erupts again, spews hot ash and sand

A volcano in eastern Indonesia today spewed a cloud six kilometers into the sky, the latest of about a hundred eruptions since the beginning of this year.

The latest eruption of Mount Ibu, on the island of Halmahera in the North Moluccas region, occurred at 3:30 a.m. local time and caused sand to fall in the surrounding areas, according to authorities. The volcano, which has erupted at least 95 times since the beginning of this year, is currently on the highest alert level in Indonesia’s four-level system after authorities raised it earlier this month.

“A column of ash, gray in color with great intensity, was seen moving towards the west,” Geology Agency director Muhammad Wafid said in a statement. “All the noise was heard up to the (observation) post,” he added.

He called on people not to enter the exclusion zone between four and seven kilometers from the volcano. The volcano erupted a few weeks ago at a similar rate, spewing a 5km tower of ash into the sky.

Ibu is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, with more than 21,000 eruptions last year. According to the Geology Agency, Ibu recorded an average of 58 eruptions per day in 2023.

Indonesia, a large country, experiences seismic and volcanic activity due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”. Last month, Mount Ruang in North Sulawesi province erupted more than half a dozen times, forcing thousands of residents on nearby islands to evacuate.

It remains at the highest alert level. About 800 people living on Ruang Island will be relocated permanently.

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