Bali's Mount Agung spews orange lava in fresh eruption

Some residents have fled their homes after Mount Agung erupted late on Monday, sending ash and lava shooting into the air.
Forest fires on the slope of Mount Agung after an eruption, as seen from Amed Village in Karangasem, Bali, on July 2, 2018.
Forest fires on the slope of Mount Agung after an eruption, as seen from Amed Village in Karangasem, Bali, on July 2, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (AFP) - A volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali erupted late on Monday (July 2), belching a plume of ash 2,000m high as bright orange lava cascaded from its summit.

Last week, the tropical island temporarily shuttered the airport and grounded hundreds of flights after Mount Agung erupted.

Indonesia's geological agency said the latest eruption of Agung at about 9pm local time (9pm Singapore time) lasted more than seven minutes and incandescent lava descended some 2km from its crater.

"The more liquidy magma, compared with the eruptions last year, has led to the spewing of lava stones," National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

The forest near the peak of the volcano caught fire and residents living at the foot of the volcano have fled, moving to villages farther down, Mr Sutopo added.

There is a 4km no-go zone around Mount Agung.

It remained on alert level, the second-highest danger warning, while the holiday island's Ngurah Rai airport stayed open. The latest eruption has not affected flights so far.

Senior volcanologist, Dr Surono, former head of Indonesia's Geological Disaster Mitigation and Volcanology Centre told Jakarta-based Elshinta radio: "Mount Agung does not have the ability to accumulate huge energy because it has continued to have smaller eruptions - releasing the energy gradually - since late November 2017 when its crater opened wider."

He added: "Volcanic material spewed by Mount Agung would not go far. Residents should be alert, but should not panic. Just enjoy the natural fireworks."

An earlier eruption in November stranded thousands of tourists and pounded Bali's lucrative tourism industry, the backbone of its economy.

Ash is dangerous for planes because it makes runways slippery and can be sucked into engines.

 
 

Mount Agung, about 70km from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been erupting periodically since it rumbled back to life last year.

Tens of thousands of locals fled to evacuation centres after last year's activity.

The last major eruption of Mount Agung in 1963 killed around 1,600 people.

Indonesia is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a vast zone of geological instability where the collision of tectonic plates causes frequent quakes and major volcanic activity.

Additional reporting by Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja