Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts twice in one day

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Originally published on November 19, 2013

Mount Sinabung in Tanah Karo district in North Sumatra, Indonesia erupted twice last Thursday, shooting up smoke plumes that reached seven kilometres in height.

According to the Jakarta Post, more than 7,000 people living in 10 villages at the foot of the volcano have been forced to evacuate. Hot gas from partially collapsed smoke column sends rocks rolling down the slopes of the volcano. Known as pyroclastic flow, it can travel up to 1.2km from the vent of the volcano.

The 5-km exclusion zone around Sinabung is expected to expand. Thus far the evacuees have been relocated to 13 shelters across Tiga Nderket, Payung, Namantaran and Kabanjahe districts.

The smoke column is forced out of the volcano in high velocity, and its heat causes it to keep rising even as it loses momentum. When the plume finally stops moving, it expands laterally over the column. The ashes then fall down into areas surrounding the volcano, devastating crops in the region.

According to the Guardian Express, the recent eruptions killed off thousands of hectares of vegetation, including cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes and oranges.

The first eruption on Thursday occurred at 6:57 a.m., and the second eruption followed just several hours later at 11:54 a.m.

Mount Sinabung had been dormant for over four centuries until it erupted in August 2010.

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