Sleeping Giant Awakes after 400 years: Mount Sinabung Eruption

mount sinabungVideos have gone viral after Mount Sinabung erupted just a few days ago on Feb 19; sending a plume of ashes over 10 miles into the atmosphere, covering villages in darkness, and breaking it’s 400-year silence with a big bang.

Mount Sinabung, located on Sumatra island, Indonesia, was last known to have erupted in the year 1600. Geologists categorize volcanoes based on their activity and need for monitoring depending on the risk posed. Category “A” volcanoes need frequent monitoring. A predominantly active volcano, Sinabung was labeled a category “B” because of its long silence. Of course, there were some signs of activity since 2010, but nothing so violent as this last eruption.

Here are some Interesting Facts about Mount Sinabung

The run-up to this latest eruption:

In Aug 2010, there was a minor eruption which spewed ashes 1.5 kilometers into the air. It was soon followed by small eruptions in September and November 2013. Even January and February 2014 saw some activity. In June 2015 about 10,000 people were evacuated when an eruption seemed likely. It was in May 2016, though, that the eruption claimed 7 casualties. With the volcano being on the radar of government officials in the last few years, local residents have been frequently alerted and evacuated when threats seemed imminent. This latest quake claimed no lives.

Take a look at some of the video footage here.

The Eruption on Feb 19, 2018:

The eruption on Monday sent ashes and gas trailing down the sides of the mountain across a 3-mile diameter. Falling ash was experienced in villages as far as 160 miles away. Visibility was reduced to a mere 5 meters in some
villages, and day literally turned to darkness under the ash clouds. Flight warnings were raised to the highest level soon after the eruption. Government officials have distributed face masks and urged residents not to step outside
their homes.

Made by Fire:

Indonesia is generally unstable; with numerous quakes and frequent volcanic activity. It is home to over 400 volcanoes out of which 130 are active. And that’s not surprising considering it is the largest island country consisting of over 13,000 islands and located in what is called the “Ring of Fire”; a string of over 200 active volcanoes in the region.

Blowing its Lid:

Sinabung is classified as a stratovolcano; which means it is constructed by numerous layers of solidified lava, stone, and ash. This recent eruption was the result of a collapse of the upper part of the conduit combined with the explosion of accumulated high pressure gas and lava. The eruption was so powerful that it has changed the shape of the mountain’s peak as it blasted off about 1.6 million cubic meters of rock. It is likely the slow lava streams will solidify and gradually reshape the upper peak again, but that will take time. Right now, it looks like it really blew its lid with the force!

Geologists and government officials may relook at the general risk level this volcano poses, and residents are on high alert. A giant has awakened, and there’s no telling what’s in store for the people of Sumatra.



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