Mount Agung appears calmer, but magma still rising

Authorities in Bali are constantly monitoring Mount Agung’s activities to make sure the people living nearby are safe. Despite lesser smoke, visible at the top of Mount Agung in the past few days, they warn a major eruption is still possible as tremors and quakes continued.

According to official records, the volcano is relatively calm visually. Only thin layers of smoke could be seen coming out of the crater on Sunday, but the volcano’s seismic activities remain volatile.

INDONESIA-VOLCANO/

A farmer works at a rice field as Mount Agung is seen from Sidemen village in Karangasem, Bali on Friday. (Antara Foto/Nyoman Budhiana/via Reuters )

Authorities are recording very strong earthquakes and tremors and the energy of the magma that’s rising to the surface is looking quite strong.

“The latest satellite image shows that the lava has already reached the surface so now it has filled the crater, about one-third of it. This indicates that the eruption activity is still an ongoing process, but indeed it is very slow,” said Devi Kamil Syahbana, staff member of the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation.

“With Agung you need to be patient. This is a marathon, not a sprint eruption,” he said.

Authorities are preparing themselves for the possibility of a bigger eruption but they just aren’t able to say when or how intense it would be if it were to happen.

The government has set up a 10-kilometre restricted zone around the volcano on the Indonesian island, only accessible through special escort of the military and a search and rescue agency team.

The island’s highest and most sacred volcano has released plumes of volcanic ash for a week, prompting flight cancellations and delays and driving thousands of people from their homes. 

More than 55,000 people with homes in the restricted zone have been living in shelters. A total of 100,000 were advised to leave the area.

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