Indonesia’s Mount Ibu erupts and spews clouds of ash

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A column of ash rises above Gunung Ibu (Mount Ibu) volcano, in Tabaru, North Maluku Province, Indonesia, May 13, 2024. Screengrab | Photo credit: Reuters

Indonesia’s Ibu volcano erupted on the morning of May 13, spewing thick columns of gray ash several kilometers into the air, the country’s volcanology bureau said.

The volcano on the remote island of Halmahera erupted at 9:12 a.m. (0012 GMT) for about five minutes, projecting ash as high as 5 km (3 miles) into the sky, officials said. A smaller eruption was also recorded on May 10.

The volcano’s alert status remains at the second-highest level, Hendra Gunawan, head of Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, said in a statement.

All activities within a five-kilometre radius of the volcano were banned, he added.

“If ash starts to rain, we recommend people who are near the volcano to wear a mask and goggles,” Mr Gunawan said.

Images of the eruption shared by the center showed clouds of gray ash rising from the crater. According to the official, a booming sound could also be heard. No resident evacuations have been reported so far.

Indonesia is located on the ‘Ring of Fire’ in the Pacific Ocean and has 127 active volcanoes, according to the volcanology bureau.

In recent weeks, North Sulawesi’s Ruang volcano has erupted, spewing glowing lava as lightning flashed from the crater. The eruption prompted authorities to evacuate more than 12,000 people living on a nearby island.

In December, more than 20 people were killed after the Marapi volcano, one of Sumatra’s most active volcanoes, erupted, spewing clouds of gray ash up to three kilometers high.

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