Indonesian volcano erupts, sending up a towering column of ash

Indonesia's Mount Sinabung spews volcanic materials into the air Monday.
Mount Sinabung spews volcanic materials into the air as it erupts in Karo, Indonesia, on Monday.
(Sugeng Nuryono / Associated Press)

Indonesia’s rumbling Mount Sinabung erupted Monday, sending a column of volcanic materials as high as 16,400 feet into the sky and depositing ash on villages.

Falling grit and ash accumulated up to two inches in already-abandoned villages on the volcano’s slopes, said Armen Putra, an official at the Sinabung monitoring post on Sumatra Island.

Farther afield in Berastagi, a tourist destination city in North Sumatra province, about 12 miles from the crater, motorists switched on headlights in daylight to see through the ash.


Videos and photos on social media showed people wearing masks while outdoors.

There were no fatalities or injuries from the eruption, Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center said.

Villagers are advised to stay at least three miles from the crater’s mouth and should be aware of the peril of lava, the agency said. Air travel was not being affected so far by the ash, the Transport Ministry said.

Efforts to collect hundreds of bodies and save the injured were stepped up in Indonesia on Monday following the country’s latest tsunami, as scientists collected evidence on how a volcanic eruption triggered the weekend tragedy.

Dec. 24, 2018

Some 30,000 people have been forced to leave homes around Sinabung in the last few years.

The volcano, one of two currently erupting in Indonesia, was dormant for four centuries before exploding in 2010, killing two people. Another eruption in 2014 killed 16 people, and seven died in a 2016 eruption.

Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval because of its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a circle of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.