Bali volcano spews ash and steam

bali

The Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali is spewing ash and steam, but authorities aren’t raising the alert level.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho says the minor eruption began at about 5 pm Bali time with a plume rising about 700 metres from the volcano.

Bali’s international airport remains open. Volcanologists say the eruption was caused by magma heating water, which is called a phreatic eruption, rather than a generally more dangerous eruption of magma itself.

Agung’s alert status was recently lowered to the second-highest warning level after several weeks at the highest level.

More than 140,000 people evacuated the region around the volcano when it was on high alert, though authorities urged some to return home who had left areas not in the official danger zone.

The number of evacuees dropped to about 30,000 after the alert level was lowered.

Nugroho said people should stay out of an exclusion zone that in places extends 7.5 kilometres from the volcano.

He said there hasn’t been an increase in seismic tremors from the volcano. An escalation in tremors can indicate magma is rising inside the mountain.

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