Mount Agung, Bali, volcano eruption spits ash more than two miles high, keeps thousands of tourists stranded


KARANGASEM, Indonesia – A volcano with a deadly history continued to explode on Tuesday in Bali, one of the most popular tourist islands in the world, spitting ash 2 1/2 miles high and strangling tens of thousands of tourists by a second day. The lava was growing in its crater, but it was not clear how severe the eruption could be or how long it could last.

Authorities have raised the alert for Mount Agung to the highest level and have told 100,000 people to leave an area that extends 6 miles from its crater while throwing gray and white feathers into the sky . Its last major eruption in 1963 killed some 1,100 people.

Officials extended the closing of the Bali International Airport for another 24 hours due to concern that the jet engines could drown in the thick volcanic ash that was moving the island.

Tourists waiting for planes watched the information screens that said "canceled" for each flight. Airport spokesman Ari Ahsanurrohim said more than 440 flights were canceled on Tuesday, affecting nearly 60,000 pbadengers, almost the same as on Monday. Without planes, entering or leaving Bali requires traveling by land and boat hours to an airport on another island.

"I do not know, we can not change it," said the stranded German traveler Gina Camp, who planned to go back out and enjoy another day on the island, which attracts about 5 million visitors a year to its famous centers. Tourist and world clbad surf spots. "It's nature and we have to wait until it's over."

Experts said a larger and more explosive eruption is possible or that Agung could remain at its current level of activity for weeks.

"If it got worse, it would make it really hard to think, you have a large population center, almost a million people in and around Denpasar, and it's very hard to imagine moving those people further," said Richard Arculus, a volcano expert from the National University of Australia, adding that an eruption in 1843 was even more explosive than that of 1963.

"There are many examples in history of this type of seismic accumulation: vapor expulsions from a little ash, rising ash eruptions to a large-scale stratospheric ash column, which may presage a great volcanic event, "he said.

  Mount Agung volcano erupts as seen from Kubu, Karangasem Regency, Bali, Indonesia, November 28, 2017.

Mount Agung volcano erupts as seen from Kubu, Karangasem Rege ncy, Bali , Indonesia, November 28, 2017.

Reuters / Darren Whiteside

A NASA satellite detected a thermal anomaly in the crater, said Indonesian volcanologist Gede Swantika. That means that a path was opened from the storage chamber in the crust of the volcano, facilitating magma access to the surface.

Indonesian officials first raised the highest alert two months ago when an eruption of seismic activity on the mountain was detected. More than 100,000 people living near the volcano fled their homes, many abandoning their livestock or selling it for a fraction of the normal price. Seismic activity decreased at the end of October, causing the authorities to reduce the alert level.

The tremors increased again last week and authorities increased the alert and ordered another large-scale evacuation, with almost 40,000 people staying in 225 shelters, according to the Disaster Mitigation Agency in Karangasem.

"Ash has covered my house on the floor, walls, plane trees outside, everywhere," said Wayan Lanus, who fled his village in Buana Giri with his wife and daughter.

But tens of thousands of villagers have remained in their homes because they feel safe or do not want to leave their farms and livestock.

The government said that those people must leave and that they can be evicted by force, BBC correspondent Rebecca Henschke reported on "CBS this morning".

Volcanic mud flows have been detected on the slopes of Agung, and Arculus warned that they are more possible since it is the rainy season in Bali.

"They're not making a lot of noise, suddenly it's like a ray of light from nowhere," he said. "You do not want to be near them." Get away from the valleys "

Indonesia sits on the Pacific" Ring of Fire "and has more than 120 active volcanoes.

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