The volcano erupted this morning at 02:45 local time with a strong explosion from the summit lava dome. It sent an 6 km tall ash column to approx. 26,000 ft (8,5 km) altitude. The eruption followed an increase in seismic activity in December, when so-called “drumbeat” earthquakes appeared – a type of volcanic tremor typically associated with movements of viscous magma at shallow depths,- in this case new lava rising beneath the existing lava dome (in place since 1991). As a consequence, the alert status of the volcano had been raised to the second highest level “Siaga” (3 on a scale of 1-4, alert). Today’s explosion caused parts of the summit dome that occupies the crater, open to the western flank, to collapse and produce a glowing avalanche that traveled approx. 2000 m, remaining within the volcano’s caldera. It seems that no pyroclastic flow (which could sweep over the caldera walls and into inhabited areas below) occurred. No damage to people or infrastructure was reported. Continued glow from the summit dome after the explosion suggests that magma has and continues to arrive now there. More
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