Airlines get 'Red Warning' over Bali volcano

by Garry Watts November 27, 2017, 0:18
Airlines get 'Red Warning' over Bali volcano

A volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali delivered a series of eruptions that temporarily disrupted some global flights to the popular tourist destination and dusted nearby resorts and villages with a thin layer of ash.

Indonesia's disaster management agency said the eruptions were no longer "phreatic", which means they are triggered by water hitting superheated rocks and usually short-lived.

Agung also had a minor eruption on Tuesday but authorities have not raised its alert status from the second highest, which would widen the exclusion area and prompt a large evacuation of people.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", an area of tectonic plates that frequently collide, causing seismic and volcanic activity.

After several weeks of apparent calm, the awaited eruption of the volcano has begun early on Saturday morning (25 Nov 2017): Moderate explosive ash emissions have been creating a plume that has been rising 1.5-4 km above the summit crater of the volcano and drifting mainly to the south.

"Mount Agung has erupted 18 times and we are used to such a condition", he said, while still urging people to prepare backpacks containing masks, flashlights, jackets and glasses.

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Satellite imagery Sunday showed the volcanic ash drifting east and southeastward towards Lombok Island.

Global airlines including Jetstar and Qantas have cancelled flights to and from the popular tourist destination.

Away from the airport, closer to the volcano, there are no new evacuations and so far no plans to extend an evacuation zone that reaches up to 7.5 kilometres from the crater.

The Mt. Agung volcano, which towers over eastern Bali at a height of just over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet), is about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the island's main tourist areas of Kuta and Seminyak. The alert was lowered on October 29 after a decrease in activity.

The volcano's last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people.


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