TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Volcanology Center and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG) in Bandung advised people to not carry out activities within a radius of 4 kilometers from the top of Mount Soputan following its eruptions on early Sunday, December 16. At present, Mount Soputan, North Sulawesi is in the level III alert status.
Mount Soputan in North Sulawesi erupted again on Sunday, December 16 at 05:40 a.m., local time. The volcano previously erupted in October.
"Mount Soputan has a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) 3," said the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) Research Center for Volcanology Disaster Mitigation on Sunday, December 16.
Volcanic Explosivity Index is a standard to measure the relative scale of a volcanic eruption, which is sorted with a range of 1 to 8. The higher the number, the bigger and more powerful the eruption, but the rarer it may occur, and vice versa.
Mount Soputan. twitter.com/Sutopo_PN
Mirzam explained the eruption of Mount Soputan early today was observed with VEI 3 considering the column ash reached 7 kilometers in height. "Please follow instructions issued by PVMBG regarding the direction of the volcanic ash that will be mostly carried away by the wind to reduce impacts of its exposure."
The eruptions, Mirzam explained, began at 02:21 a.m local time marked by the release of lava, then followed by a 7,000-meter eruption of ash column, which was seen from Lobu Village, Toluaan this morning at 5:16 a.m.
The ash column was observed to be gray with thick intensity heading to the southwest. Seismic activity is reportedly still high, and the eruption ash column is still visible.
People should avoid the west and southwest area of the mountain as far as 6.5 kilometers from the mountain top is the opening area of the crater which is prone to the lava flow and hot avalanches.
Further, lava may also flow to the river originating around the slopes of Mount Soputan such as Ranowangko, Lawian, Popang, and Londola Kelewahu River. People also recommended using a face mask to prevent from ash rains as to anticipate respiratory tract disorders.