Friday, July 15, 2011

Mount Lokon volcano (Sulawesi, Indonesia) erupts.

Fireworks at Mount Lokon. The night was lighting up near Manado, Sulawesi as Mount Lokon spewed fire and ash into the air. Once more we ask our readers to click on the links below drom the Manado Trubun, the local newspaper.  Image page 1 Image page 2 – Image page 3 – Image page 4 – Image page 5 (Pictures from Jacky Chen and Rizky Adriansyah)
UPDATE 15/07 – 19:44 UTC : A 2:47 AM local time, Lokon volcano did send an ash column 800 meters in the sky. The renewed action comes after 14 hours of limited local ash bursts. The new eruption was preceded by a volcanic earthquake. The new ash clouds are carried to the north-west side of the island, the Tateli area.
UPDATE 15/07 – 17:41 UTC : The eruption was short lived as for many hours there is almost no ash or lave flows anymore. Seismic activity decreased a little but did not not enough go down to lower the alert level.
UPDATE 15/07 – 10:18 UTC : 28 Search and Rescue people are patrolling the REd Zone (most dangerous area surrounding the volcano (especially the sectors Kakaskasen 1 and 2 and Kinilow 1)) to search for people unwilling to evacuate.
UPDATE 15/07 – 09:21 UTC : VAAC Darwin has no longer warnings in place as the ash cloud was not dicovered any more on satellite images

UPDATE 14/07 – 23:35 UTC : VAAC Darwin (Volcanic Ash Advisory) is stating in his latest bulletin that the impact will be local with ash clouds reported to 1,500 meter above the crater.
UPDATE 14/07 – 23:28 UTC : Lava is flowing down the mountain in the Kinilow direction. Tomohon looks to be safe so far.
UPDATE 14/07 – 22:55 UTC : The sky above Manado, a city of 405,000 people, a is filled with thick smoke.
UPDATE 14/07 – 22:49 UTC : Most of the people living near the volcano have been wisely evacuated yesterday.  Hopefully nobody was hurt or killed during the eruption.
UPDATE 13/07 – 15:46 UTC : Emergency response services in Manado have told the press that the activity of the Lokon volcano shows a decreasing pattern. The eruption pattern is described as “small scale ash bursts”. The conclusion came after analyzing the gas and seismic monitoring data. So far, the biggest bursts were on July 11 when ash was blown 700 meter into the sky.
The last several hours there was almost no seismic activity around the crater.
Authorities will lower the alert level if the current situation goes on.
Evacuated people are awaiting further instructions to return to their homes.
UPDATE 12/07 – 17:07 UTC : Evacuated people are complaining about the food distribution in the refugee shelters.
UPDATE 12/07 – 17:04 UTC : The people of Kinilow village have also been evacuate at more distance from the volcano who’s alert level is stil extremely high according to local authorities.  After Tomohon, this is the second village which has been evacuated due to the eruption.
Mount Lokon volcano, Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia - Panoramio image courtesy frannytumengkol -
UPDATE 12/07 – 08:07 UTC : In general people are not afraid as the volcano follows a more or less regular ash bursts interval of 10 to 15 minutes.  Some of them are living as close as 2 km from the crater which could be VERY dangerous if a strong explosive eruption would send a pyroclastic flow along the slopes of the volcano. People should have learned lessons from the eruption of Merapi volcano which killed hundreds of people last year. People living closest to the volcano did not like to evacuate for the same reasons.
UPDATE 12/07 – 08:07 UTC : People in Kinilow, another village at the foot of the volcano refuse to leave the village and are behaving like they have no fear for the ash emitting volcano.
UPDATE 12/07 – 08:05 UTC : The situation near the volcano is unchanged. People are reluctant to evacuate as they fear looting their houses.
UPDATE 16:35 UTC : School buses have been deployed in Tomohon (village close to Mt. Lokon) to start the evacuation tomorrow morning.
UPDATE 15:08 UTC : Manado TribunNews photographer Rizky Adriansyah made some beautiful pictures from the Lokon  eruption tonight (local time). Click on the thumbnails to go to the Manado Tribun site. All the pictures are copyright Manado Tribun.  When clicking on the thumbnails (safe) you will be able to see in normal width.
UPDATE 12:40 UTC : Nearly 7,000 people living close to the volcano (including Tomohon) will be asked to evacuate on Tuesday morning.
UPDATE 12:37 UTC : The volcanic ash is currently NOT disturbing the International airport at Manado (this airport was closed for approx. 24 hours during the last Soputan volcano eruption)
UPDATE The last major eruption of Lokon was on October 24 1991. Some villages had to be evacuated. An amateur Swiss volcanologist was killed while observing the eruption. (from James Daniell Volcano CatDat)
UPDATE : For the people in the greater area of the Lokon volcano (Mount Lokon), this is the second eruption which brings annoying ash showers. Before Lokon it was another Sulawesi volcano, Soputan, who erupted and threw even more ash in the sky. The distance in between both Sulawesi volcanoes is approx. 40 km.
UPDATE : Warembungan district (4 villages) has suffered another day from ash showers. Yesterday, the ash showers were mixed with rain and villagers spoke about “mud falling out of the sky“. Life in Warembungan goes on like normal. The most annoying aspect of the current eruption is the dust in the streets.
UPDATE : The local administration has decided not to evacuate the surrounding villages yet, but to rather keep them ready to evacuate if necessary.
UPDATE : The alert level has been raised from III to IV (highest)
The eruption started in June and has gone up and down since then.
Smithsonian Institute most recent information (bulletin from 29/06 to 05/07)
CVGHM reported that during 1-25 June white plumes rose 50-200 m above Tompaluan crater, in the saddle between the Lokon-Empung peaks. On 26 June a phreatic eruption ejected material that fell around the crater and produced a gray plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted N. Seismicity increased the next day and white plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater. The Alert Level was raised to 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Visitors and residents were prohibited from going within a 3-km radius of the crater.
Mount Lokon, together with Mount Empung, is a twin volcano (2.2 km apart) in the northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Both rise above the Tondano plain and are among active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Mount Lokon has a flat and craterless top.
Volcano overview
The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks ( whose summits are only 2.2 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred.
text : Smithsonian Institute