Geological Agency increases Mt Awu's alert status to level 2

Geological Agency increases Mt Awu's alert status to level 2

Mount Awu in North Sulawesi covered by fog. ANTARA/HO-Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry

Deep volcanic earthquakes have also been observed to increase. In addition, the seismic amplitude (RSAM) has increased progressively from November up to now
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry's Geological Agency raised the alert status of Mount Awu in North Sulawesi, from normal or level 1 to level 2, following increased volcanic activity observed since October 2021.

"The increased activity of Mt Awu was marked by an increase in volcanic seismicity that indicates an increase in magma pressure in the volcano," the agency's secretary, Ediar Usman, noted in a statement, Monday.

According to Usman, the volcano's surface activity has yet to show significant changes.

However, there is an increased likelihood of Mt Awu erupting, although the time of the eruption cannot be ascertained. The volcano could spew incandescent lava as well as pyroclastic material.

"Other likely threats are the emission of toxic gases around the crater area. If an eruption occurs and the material falls on the slopes of the volcano, then there is a likely threat of cold lava when it rains," he pointed out.

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The 1,320-metre-high volcano is located on Sangihe Island in Sangihe Islands District, North Sulawesi Province.

The Geological Agency has notified the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), North Sulawesi Governor, and Sangihe Islands District Head regarding the increased activity of Mt Awu.

"Mt Awu's eruption characteristics can be magmatic explosive, effusive, or phreatic. Its last eruption in June 2004 produced an eruption column as high as two kilometers above the peak and left a lava dome in the crater about 370 meters in diameter and 30 meters in height," Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) head Andiani stated.

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Volcanic earthquakes have been observed to increase since October. Shallow volcanic earthquakes were recorded in the range of seven to 26 events per day, whereas earlier, the maximum recorded events per day had reached five.

"Deep volcanic earthquakes have also been observed to increase. In addition, the seismic amplitude (RSAM) has increased progressively from November up to now," she remarked.

The agency has advised the residents, visitors, and tourists to refrain from any activities within a one-kilometer radius of Mt Awu's crater.

It also called on people to remain calm and not be provoked by false information regarding the activities of Mt Awu.

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