A Volcano Awakens

December 1, 2017

It wasn’t a question of if, but when Mount Agung would erupt again. The last time that Mount Agung, a volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali, erupted was in 1963. That volcanic eruption was considered one of the most devastating eruptions in Indonesia’s history. For over fifty years, Mount Agung remained dormant, but that all changed a few months ago. In late August, volcanologists noticed increased volcanic activity (tremors, rumbles, ash, etc.) coming from the mountain. In fact, hundreds of tremors were detected in a single day in September. These signs all point to a possible eruption. In late September, over 75,000 people living closest to the mountain were evacuated, and a 7.5-mile exclusion perimeter (or do-not-enter area) was established to keep people from harm’s way. While Mount Agung did not erupt in September, and volcanic activity decreased in October, the volcano once again became active late last week.

By Michael W. Ishak (www.myreefsdiary.com) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On Saturday, November 25th, Mount Agung erupted, filling the skies with heavy ash and smoke. Since then, several other eruptions have occurred, leaving airplanes temporarily grounded and tourists stranded on the popular vacation island. Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management called for a total evacuation of the area surrounding the mountain, and officials are working to get people out of harm’s way in anticipation of larger eruptions.

Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas /via Wikimedia Commons

Interesting Fact: Some Balinese believe that Mount Agung is where the gods live. When people mistreat the island or disrespect customs, the gods get angry and Mount Agung rumbles. When Mount Agung threatened to erupt in September, many Balinese headed to local temples to pray to the gods, hoping to calm the mountain.