A volcano named Mount Agung in Indonesia’s Bali province has started erupting, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The Morning Herald on Tuesday reported that Agung’s erupting began Tuesday, less than a month after its alert status was downgraded after a decrease in seismic activity.
Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency on Tuesday urged the public to remain calm after Agung began spewing a dark gray plume about 2,297 feet about the volcano’s peak.
Agung’s erupting began after 5 p.m. local time, and the volcano’s alert level remains a three after it was downgraded from a maximum of four on October 29.
The National Disaster Management Agency on Tuesday called Agung’s erupting “phreatic” activity.
“Phreatic” refers to a steam-driven explosion that happens when water beneath the ground or on the surface is heated by molten rock.
Molten rocks are often called magma or lava, which also reference hot rocks or new volcanic deposits.
Indonesia’s government on Tuesday said in a press release that a potential hazard from Agung was heavy ash rain that could spread out of the volcano’s danger zone.
“It is expected that all communities living around Mount Agung and on the island of Bali, immediately prepare a mask to cover the nose and mouth and eye protection as an effort to anticipate the potential danger [of] volcanic ash,” the statement said.
A National Disaster Management Agency spokesman on Tuesday said that people should avoid the roughly four-to-five-mile volcano exclusion zone around Agung.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that the zone was previously specified by the Centre for Volcanology last October, adding that the organization is now analyzing Agung’s activities.
“The status is still the same – level three,” he said. “Volcanic activities have not shown any increase in earthquakes.”
The Morning Herald reported that in late October there were approximately 134,500 evacuees living in 390 refugee camps in nine regencies throughout Bali.
The newspaper additionally reported that all but 29,000 have returned to their homes after Agung’s threat alert level was downgraded last month.