Australia on tsunami alert after devastating volcanic eruption rocks Indonesia

Australia is on tsunami alert after Indonesian stratovolcano Mount Ruang, in North Sulawesi Province, erupted spectacularly five times in 24 hours. 

The eruptions have forced the evacuation of 11,000 people and the closure of Sam Ratulangi International Airport in the provincial capital of Manado.  

Fiery lava and ash plumes were spewed thousands of metres into the air. 

Mount Ruang is a 725m volcano on remote Ruang Island, 1,640km from Indonesia’s tourist hotspot Bali. 

According to Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation, Mount Ruang first erupted at 9:45pm local time on Tuesday and then four times throughout Wednesday.     

Fears were raised that Mount Ruang could trigger a tsunami by collapsing into the sea. North Sulawesi Province region is now in a state of heightened alert.

Australia is on tsunami alert after Indonesian stratovolcano Mount Ruang (pictured), in North Sulawesi Province, erupted spectacularly five times in 24 hours 

‘In light of the escalating volcanic activity observed visually and instrumentally, Mount Ruang’s alert level has been elevated from Level 3 to Level 4,’ Hendra Gunawan, the director of Indonesia’s volcanology agency said on Wednesday night.

‘The force of Mount Ruang’s eruption is getting bigger and has emitted hot clouds of approximately 1.7 kilometres,’ Mr Gunawan told national news agency Antara.

Mr Gunanwan added the eruptions were triggered by recent earthquakes in the area. 

About 800 people live on Ruang Island and they have been relocated to neighboring Tagulandang Island, which is over a hundred kilometres north of Manado. 

No casualties have been reported.

Mount Ruang is known as a stratovolcano, which are steep-sided and conical  due to the formation of viscous, sticky lava.

According to volcanologists, they often produce explosive eruptions due to a build-up of gas in the magma.  

Indonesia has over 120 active volcanoes – more than anywhere else in the world. It sits along a 40,000km arc of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

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