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Tsunami, Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions Strike Indonesia!

© unknown
A picture of Indonesia's Mount Merapi taken from Umbul Harjo village in Sleman, Yogyakarta, shows the volcano spewing smoke. Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted three times on Tuesday, causing thousands to flee and claiming the life of a three-month-old baby as it emitted searing clouds and volcanic ash.
Rescuers battled rough seas Tuesday to reach remote Indonesian islands pounded by a 10-foot tsunami that swept away homes, killing at least 113 people. Scores more were missing and information was only beginning to trickle in from the sparsely populated surfing destination, so casualties were expected to rise.

The fault that ruptured Monday on Sumatra island's coast also caused the 2004 quake and monster Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Though hundreds of disaster officials were unable to get to many of the villages on the Mentawai islands - reachable only by a 12-hour boat ride - they were preparing for the worst.

"We have 200 body bags on the way, just in case," said Mujiharto, who heads the Health Ministry's crisis center, shortly before announcing a five-fold increase in the death toll.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity due to its location on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire - a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

Better Earth

Indonesian tsunami kills 108, hundreds missing

tsunami indonesia
© unknown
A tsunami that pounded remote islands in western Indonesia following an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra killed more than 100 people, officials said on Tuesday, and hundreds more were missing.

The 7.5 magnitude quake hit 78 km west of South Pagai, one of the Mentawai islands, late on Monday. Local legislator Hendri Dori Satoko told Metro TV the latest toll was 108 dead and 502 missing.

Most buildings in the coastal village of Betu Monga were destroyed, said Hardimansyah, an official with the regional branch of the Department of Fisheries.

"Of the 200 people living in that village, only 40 have been found. 160 are still missing, mostly women and children," he told Reuters by phone. "We have people reporting to the security post here that they could not hold on to their children, that they were swept away. A lot of people are crying."

Hardimansyah, who has only one name, said 80 percent of the houses in the area were damaged and food supplies were low.

Bizarro Earth

Indonesia orders evacuations as volcano threat peaks

Indonesia raised its alert for Mount Merapi to its highest level on Monday and ordered people living near the rumbling volcano to move immediately to safer ground. Seismic activity has escalated dramatically at the volcano on the densely populated island of Java, with increasing lava spurts and about 500 multi-phased volcanic earthquakes recorded over the weekend, officials said.

The state office of volcanology upgraded its alert level to red at 6:00 am (2300 GMT), signalling an eruption could be imminent.

"The magma has been pushed upwards due to the escalating seismic energy and it's about a kilometre (mile) below the crater," government volcanologist Surono said.

People had been ordered to evacuate a danger zone of 10 kilometres (six miles) from the crater of the 2,914-metre (9,616-foot) mountain.


Seismic crisis at Piton de la Fournaise Volcano, Reunion

© Unknown
A seismic crisis occurred at Piton de la Fournaise Volcano, Reunion on the evening of 23rd September. Several tens of earthquakes were located at the base of the summit area, in Dolomieu crater.

The seismic crisis was associated with significant inflation (3 cm) of the volcano, especially near the summit. The data indicates that magma has moved towards the surface and an eruption is imminent.

Access trails to the summit of Piton de la Fournaise, either from Pas de Bellecombe or from any other trails have been closed to the public from 24th September 2010 until further notice.

Bizarro Earth

Planchon Volcano Starts Spewing Rocks, Gases, Chile's Geology Service Says

The Planchon volcano, on the border between Argentina and Chile, started erupting in the last few days, spewing pyroclastic material and gases, Chile's National Geology and Mining Service said.

The plume yesterday reached as high as 1.2 kilometer (0.75 mile) above the crater, the geology service said on its website today. The volcano, 196 kilometers south of Santiago, has had a permanent plume of smoke for several years.

The geology service described the eruption as "minor." Geologists plan to fly over the area today. An erupting volcano in 2008 forced residents to abandon the Chilean town of Chaiten.

To contact the reporter responsible on this story: Sebastian Boyd in Santiago at sboyd9@bloomberg.net


More People Flee Homes as Volcano Erupts in Indonesia

© Xinhua/AFP
Mount Sinabung volcano spews smoke in the district of Tanah Karo outside the city of Medan, North Sumatra August 28, 2010.
The number of evacuees in volcano eruption in Indonesia climbed to over 21,000 on Monday and was expected to rise, spokesman of National Disaster Management Agency Priyadi Kardono said.

The rise of over 9,000 evacuees from that on Sunday has caused overload on shelters, the spokesman said.

Some of the evacuees have suffered from diseases, he said.

"The problems at the shelters now is overload and it may become severer as the people keep flocking on the refugee centers. Besides some of the evacuees have got disease, most of them have respiratory problem," Priyadi told Xinhua by phone.


Volcano erupts on Indonesia's Sumatra after 400 years

© Reuters / Tarmizy Harva
Mount Sinabung volcano spews smoke outside the city of Medan, North Sumatra August 28, 2010
A volcano erupted on the Indonesia island of Sumatra on Sunday for the first time in four centuries, sending smoke 1,500 meters (about 5,000 feet) into the air and prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents, officials said.

There were no reports of casualties so far and aviation in the area was unaffected.

Mount Sinabung in the north of Sumatra began erupting around midnight after rumbling for several days and lava was overflowing its crater, Surono, head of Indonesia's vulcanology center, told Reuters. The volcano had been placed on red level, the highest alert.

Bizarro Earth

Update: Galeras Volcano in Colombia Erupts, Government Raises Alert

Galeras Volcano
© Johana Gonzales/Getty Images
The Galeras volcano, Narino department, Colombia, on January 3, 2010. The Galeras volcano in southeastern Colombia erupted Saturday night, but there were no reports of deaths or injuries, authorities said.
The Galeras volcano, located 14,029 feet above sea level in southwestern Colombia, erupted at 4 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

A total of 278 people were evacuated according to an Associated Press report.

Hospitals close to the affected area were requested by the government to prepare medical resources and supplies to be ready to provide immediate help.

The eruption, which spewed gas and ash, has not caused significant damage in the surrounding area, said an official press release.

The government issued alerts to residents in surrounding towns recommending residents stay indoors, avoid panic, remove ash in residential areas, and avoid using bridges after the eruption.

Galeras is considered the one of the most active volcanoes in the country, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

Bizarro Earth

Authorities Fear Eruption of Galeras Volcano

The Galeras Volcano
The Galeras Volcano
Authorities and inhabitants in the south of Colombia fear an eruption of the Galeras volcano after four tremors shook the area on Sunday and Monday.

According to the volcanic observatory run by Colombia's Geology and Mining authority Ingeominas, the several tremors are related to the activity of the volcano and an eruption is likely within days or weeks.
The quakes took place in the area surrounding the active volcano just outside the city of Pasto.

Ingeominas says it continues to be alert to the volcanic phenomena and will report changes.

The Galeras volcano erupted last in January, after which 8,000 people were forced to evacuate.

Bizarro Earth

Activity At Sakurajima Volcano Intensifies

Sakurajima Volcano
© Space Daily
Roughly 7,000 years ago Sakurajima erupted with a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of 6, equivalent to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
By mid-August, Sakurajima Volcano-one of Japan's most active-had erupted ash at least once every week during 2010.

On August 19, 2010, an ash plume was sighted at 9,000 feet (2,700 meters), according to the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

This natural-color satellite image shows the gray plume moving west (towards image top) from the volcano's summit. Simultaneously, a pyroclastic flow descended the eastern slopes.

Although Sakurajima's activity since 1955 has been characterized by frequent small eruptions, the volcano still poses a danger to the densely-populated surroundings.

Roughly 7,000 years ago Sakurajima erupted with a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of 6, equivalent to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

The image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite.