Java Island is the main island in Indonesia as well as the most densely populated, and it is home to the stratovolcano, Mount Kelud.
Mount Kelud has been giving signs of its coming eruption for the past 10 days.
Kelud erupted today, sending plumes of smoke and ash high into the air, causing the government to raise the eruption alert to its highest level overnight. Authorities have immediately ordered an evacuation of all residents in a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) radius of Mount Kelud, which numbers hundreds of thousands of people.
Videos and photos from the eruption show large black plumes rising over Mount Kelud, sparking lightning strikes and raining pebbles and ash on the surrounding area.
Muhammad Hendrasto, head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center, says the mountain in Kediri regency erupted late Thursday, about 90 minutes after authorities raised its status to the highest level.
Hendrasto urged about 200,000 people living in 36 villages within the danger zone of 6 miles from the crater to evacuate.
The military has been called in to help evacuate the area, and the evacuees are moving to nearby shelters.
The last time Mount Kelud erupted was in October 2007, evacuating over 30,000 people. In 1990, an eruption killed more than 30 people and injured hundreds.
Local news is predicting heavy ash fall that could see up to gravel sized ash in distances of 15-40 km,(25 miles) from Kelud. Indonesian Civil Defense (BNPB) urged people living within 10 km (6 miles) of the volcano to evacuate. Indonesian government set up more than 70 evacuation shelters in areas around the volcan
Indonesia is part of the vast “Pacific Ring of Fire,” which is an area of colliding continental plates where powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions often occur.
Image via Volcano Discovery