Recent volcanic activity has been reported in multiple areas including: El Salvador, the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and an islet off Japan's Pacific coast. Residents near two of the volcanoes were forced to evacuate.
A plume of gas erupted 3 miles in the air above the Chaparrastique volcano, leading El Salvador to evacuate residents located near the 7,025-foot volcano. According to Assistant Health Minister Eduardo Espinoza, "We are providing assistance to people evacuating, and we are asking them to protect themselves against the gases, which can affect the respiratory tract." Civil Defense Director Jorge Melendez explained, "We have implemented emergency measures to evacuate villages located within 3 kilometers of the volcano. One has to leave for one's own safety."
Mount Sinabung, which is located on the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted nine times on December 30th, prompting the evacuation of more than 19,000 people. Lava erupted 23,000 feet from the volcano, a surprise for some local residents who had not noticed signs of activity during the last few years. Mt. Sinabung had been dormant for three years; however, reports of activity were first brought to public attention in September of this year. According to National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, "On Monday night, 19,126 people fled their homes, and we expect that number to rise. Mount Sinabung remains on the highest alert level." Many additional residents within the surrounding area are expected to evacuate soon.
Undersea volcanic eruptions have also been noticed off Japan's Pacific coast, forming an islet and connecting with the uninhabited volcanic island of Nishino-shima. Kenji Nogami, who is a geology professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, observed and reported the activity from a plane near the eruption site. "The amount of volcanic smoke has apparently grown with a continuous flow of lava. The supply of magma from the deep subsurface is presumably increasing," Nogami said.
Image Via Wikimedia Commons