A Sleeping Volcano in Indonesia Wakes Up

Mount Sinabung, a dormant volcano in North Sumatra province in Indonesia which has been inactive since the 1600s finally wakes up Sunday as it shoots out volcanic ash nearly a mile into the air. It has been sleeping for 400 years and now it can no longer hold the magma inside.

Surono, head of the country’s volcanology and geology agency said, “We don’t know the character of this volcano because it’s been dormant for so long”. The volcanoerupted just after 12:15 a.m. Sunday (1:15 p.m. ET Saturday) as what has been reported by the official Antara news agency. The volcano has been monitored closely and based on their latest report, a destructive eruption is not likely to happen.

12,000 residents living in 14 villages near the volcano has already been evacuated by the authorities. The evacuation was ordered Saturday by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation along with a warning. As of the moment no casualties has been reported yet.

The Medan Tribune quoted one local resident as saying he panicked and ran when he saw lava coming towards his him “like a ball of fire”.

Indonesia is among the number of countries which has been included in the Pacific Ring of Fire and has at least 129 active volcanoes. Although it has been used to volcanic eruptions, this one has been dormant for so long so nearby resident are most likely not ready for it.

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