There are currently 35 volcanic eruptions taking place around the world, most of these eruptions, like Hawaii’s Kilauea erupt nearly continuously. The nearly simultaneous eruptions Indonesia’s Sinabung which has claimed 15 lives, and Ecuador’s Tungurahua which has thrown an ash could in excess of 40,000 feet in the air is a different sort of class of eruption.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — The death toll from the sudden eruption of an active volcano on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island rose to 15, officials said Sunday, as toxic clouds of hot ash hampered search and rescue teams looking for more victims and survivors.
Among the victims from the volcanic activity Saturday in North Sumatra Province were residents checking on their homes, a journalist and a group of high school students and their teacher, said Yopie Haryadi, a spokesman for Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency.
The teams resumed searching Sunday but were forced to stop and take cover when sirens activated to warn that the area around the volcano, Mount Sinabung, was not safe. One of three people who were injured during Saturday’s eruptions died in a hospital, Mr. Yopie said. Officials have warned that the volcano could erupt again and that the death toll could rise because of people ignoring warnings and returning to their homes.
A strong phase of activity (a paroxysm) occurred yesterday afternoon, with a series of powerful vulcanian explosions, that produced an ash plume surpassing 40,000 ft (13 km) altitude, heavy tephra fall and pyroclastic flows to up to approx 8 km length.
Now there’s a sight you certainly don’t want to see in your backyard.