Mount Agung in Bali by skyseeker
Written by @Saschaflower
Amidst all the scaremongering and cancelled holidays, The Gili Guide brings you up-to-date information on the Mount Agung volcano eruption. There has been a ‘small’ eruption from Mount Agung in Bali, but authorities are urging people not to panic. So far, there have been no casualties and the situation is being monitored carefully. Flight schedules are running as usual and no further evacuation procedures have been put in place.
On Tuesday 21st November, at around 5pm local time, a ‘small’ amount of ash and smoke erupted from Mount Agung in Bali. Smoke and ash rose around 700m into the air in the north of Bali, and it is unclear as to what will happen next. This was not the huge, molten spew that many expect from volcanoes, so there is no real need to panic at this moment. It is being treated as serious but not dangerous.
The volcano first started rumbling back in late September, when the alert level was raised to a Level 4 (the highest level) by local authorities. Since then, there have been continuous tremors. Yesterday’s eruption has not caused much immediate damage, and everyone in Bali is safe at this time.
There are various news reports using old information from the last eruption over 50 years ago, and photos of other volcanic eruptions. This scaremongering has caused widespread panic across the internet. This Mount Agung eruption is an eruption of smoke and ash, not of lava and everything else that springs to mind when we here of an eruption.
Gunung Agung meletus mengeluarkan asap dan abu kelabu tebal dengan tekanan sedang pada 21/11/2017 pukul 17:05 WITA. Tinggi letusan maksimum 700 meter dari puncak kawah. Status Siaga (level 3). Radius 6-7,5 km dilarang ada aktivitas masyarakat. Masyarakat dihimbau tenang. pic.twitter.com/bw63qSbh2y
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) November 21, 2017
There are tremors under the earth which are caused by heat, and are known as ‘pheatric eruptions’. The heat from the volcano’s magma or lava heats up water in the earth and causes steam eruptions, like the one we saw yesterday. This eruption of steam and some ash was a result of the underground tremors and, as such, is being classed ‘small’ and ‘not dangerous’.
Since the ‘minor eruption’ yesterday, there has not been any activity to indicate another eruption, but people are being encouraged to stay safe. The phreatic eruptions can be hard to predict, and there are not always clear signs, such as earthquakes, that these may happen. Experts believe there is no immediate risk, but people in Bali are being advised to stay safe.
There have not been any further indications of another Mount Agung eruption, but it is a possibility. There have been increased levels of seismic activity, averaging a high 60 tremors per day, but this does not necessarily mean another eruption will occur. These suggest that there is magma inside the volcano, and that there is a pressure building. Mount Agung has been deflating the pressure within itself, with activities such as this steam eruption, and may be re-inflating now. It is a waiting game, and experts are looking for any signs of activity.
The results of another eruption are likely to be ash fall and problems with sand and earth around and on the volcano itself. Locals are encouraged to buy face-masks in preparation for this, and to keep skin covered when outdoors. If another eruption occurs and there is ash fall, it is hard to predict what areas of Bali and nearby islands will be affected. This will depend on a number of factors, including wind speed and direction. If you are in Bali or Indonesia, follow advice from local authorities and keep yourself updated with any news.
There is also a chance that this eruption has been what the build-up has been all about. There may be no further activity from Mount Agung in Bali. It is simply a case of waiting, and staying updated.
There has been a Mount Agung evacuation procedure in place for nearly two months. After various tremors that warned experts of a possible eruption, those living near the volcano in the north of Bali were evacuated from their homes back in September.
There have been various videos and information shared relating to the last time there was a Mount Agung eruption, almost 50 years ago. These have caused lots of ‘fake news’ and widespread panic. Whilst there has been an eruption, and may be another one, there is no need to cancel any plans to visit the island.
— Steven Wright (@regularsteven) November 2, 2017
There were mass evacuations of the areas surrounding Mount Agung in Bali back in August. Over a thousand people were forced to leave their homes as a possible eruption was feared to be imminent. Since then, some people were allowed to move back to their homes but have since been evacuated again. There remains an exclusion zone of around 6 – 7.5km.
There have not been any causalities as of yet, with everyone in Bali safe from the volcano.
Holiday-makers are advised to go ahead with plans, and there have been no changes to flight schedules as of yet. Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is operating as usual, with the aviation code being upgraded to ‘orange’, as per the Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation levels. This means that there will be plans in place should a further eruption take place, and suggests an increased likelihood of eruption.
Bali, Lombok and its Gili islands are all believed to be safe at this point in time. The evacuation procedure has ensured that anyone in a dangerous proximity to the volcano has been safely evacuated. Authorities downgraded the alert level from Level 4 to Level 3 at the end of October and, despite the recent Mount Agung volcano eruption, it has not been changed.
We ask that instead of panicking, you remember that there are 14,000 people who have been forced to leave their homes. While everyone is safe, it is important to remember that there have been real disruptions to the lives of locals.
Many people have cancelled their holidays to Bali, and business is suffering as a result. It is believed that Bali has lost over $100m due to the drop in tourism, all of which will have a huge effect on local businesses and individuals. Bali is still very much a safe place to be, and most areas remain unaffected by this recent eruption. The situation is being closely observed and we’ll keep you updated with any new information.