Dukono volcano

Dukono volcano
The Dukono volcano in Indonesia has erupted over the past few days, ejecting columns of ash high into the air, just months after violent activity from Mount Agung shook the nation.

Indonesia's Mount Dukono - based on Halmahera island to the east of the country - has been ejecting ash over the last day, with a continuous fog exploding from the main crater, according to Indonesia's volcanic survey. Indonesia's 127 active volcanoes all pose significant risks to some five million people living nearby. Mount Agung alone killed more than 1,000 people in March last year. While Mount Dukono is not quite as dangerous yet, it is one of the country's most active volcanoes.

The PVMBG (Volcanic Survey of Indonesia) has put Dukono on a level two 'alert' as the volcano ejects 7000ft of ash.

The service has warned people should not travel near the volcano, and an aviation notice has been issued for any nearby aircraft, advising pilots not to fly.

According to the PVMBG, the ash cloud could be much higher than is currently visible and is moving towards the south-west of the country.

A separate warning for people travelling nearby says ash coming from the volcano could be dangerous to the respiratory system.

A PVMBG spokesperson said: "Communities around Dukono and visitors/tourists are not to move, climb, and approach Malupang Warirang Crater within a 1.25 miles (2 km) radius.

"Eruptions with volcanic ash periodically occur and the distribution of ash follows the direction and speed of the wind so that the ashes of the ash area are not fixed.

"It is recommended that the community around Dukono always provide mask/nose and mouth cover for use in order to avoid the danger of volcanic ash in the respiratory system."

While Dukono is only spouting ash at the moment, it is one of Indonesia's most active volcanos and has produced more severe eruptions in the past.

Dukono's first monitored volcanic eruption was in 1550, causing death and destruction on Halmahera island, but exact losses are unknown.

After this, eruptions were recorded in 1719, 1868, and 1901.

More recently, the volcano has been erupting continuously since 1933, and routine observations of the volcano's main crater were curtailed in 1990.

Geologically speaking, Dukono is a complex volcano, with explosive eruptions from multiple summit peaks and low craters.

The University of Oregon said volcanologists visited the area where the volcano was erupting on several occasions, noting violent activity and "bombs" were flung from the main crater.

They said: "Volcanologists visited the volcano in 1978 and 1979.

"On the first visit, bombs (a mass of molten rock) as long as 4 m were being thrown as far as 250 m from the vent.

"An ash cloud rose up to 10 km above the crater. Ash was blown as far away as 15 km.

"Quiet periods lasting 6-8 hours were reported. On the second visit, explosive ejection of ash was observed."