Sept. 28 (UPI) — As Indonesia’s Mount Agung volcano threatens to erupt, an alert was raised to the highest level and more than 120,000 people have evacuated, officials said.
The volcano, on the island of Bali less than 50 miles from the resort of Kuta, showed unprecedented levels of internal seismic activity this week. Tremors, and the emission of steam and smoke, have been noted at the 9,444-foot mountain, which is one of over 100 volcanoes in Indonesia.
Data indicate that Mount Agung experienced over 1,000 small earthquakes this week.
The country’s volcanology canter said a full eruption could occur “in a matter of hours.”
“Instrumentally, we have never recorded such high energy or seismicity from Mount Agung,” said seismologist Devy Kamil Syahbana. “We need to pay attention because these kinds of earthquakes indicate the movement of magma and increase the probability of an eruption.”
Shelters have opened on the island as thousands within a specified danger zone have been evacuated. Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited several shelters this week and a five-mile area around the mountain was evacuated.
Referring to the potential eruption, Emile Jansons of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology told the Sydney Morning Herald,, “It might be a very explosive one, it could be a weak eruption that lasts for a long time, and it’s also entirely possible that it just stops.”
Over 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.