JAKARTA, Indonesia – A volcano in western Indonesia spewed hot lava and sand high into the sky early Sunday August 29, 2010 in its first eruption in 400 years. Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, is on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
Government volcanologist Surono, stated Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province started rumbling a few days ago and the minor morning eruption had mostly stopped. He stated Mount Sinabung last erupted in 1600, so observers don’t know the volcano’s eruption pattern and are monitoring it closely for more activity. The government has distributed 7,000 masks to refugees and set up public kitchens so people can cook food, stated Priyadi Kardono, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.
It sent sand and ash up to a mile (1.5 kilometres) high but lava only moved near its crater. It caused no major damage and only dust covered plants and trees. Evacuations on the volcano’s slopes started Friday at the first signs of activity. Up to 10,000 people who fled are staying in government buildings, houses of worship and other evacuation centres in two nearby towns.