Mount Sinabung, a major volcano in the North Sumatra region of Indonesia had a big eruption on Monday. This volcano had remained dormant for around four centuries until 2010 when it erupted again. At that time, two people died because of it. The volcano erupted again in 2014 and then in 2016, killing 16 and seven people respectively.

No casualties have been reported from this latest eruption but its magnitude can be gauged from the fact that the column of smoke that emerged from the crater of the volcano reached a height of around 16,400-ft or five kilometers. While there hasn't been a release of lava as of now, authorities are warning that there is a distinct possibility of it still.

Mount Sinabung
Mount Sinabung explosion Wikimedia Commons

Mount Sinabung's activity

Mount Sinabung lies on the dangerous 'Ring of Fire' – a curve in the shape of a horseshoe which consists of tectonic fault lines. Many large volcanoes also lie on this geological line whose eruption can cause severe earthquakes as well.

While the exact time of a volcanic eruption is nigh on impossible to predict, there were indications in the past few days of an imminent explosion. Two minor eruptions had taken place during the past weekend. Due to past experiences, no villages are located in the immediate vicinity of the crater of the volcano.

YouTube/Alexandra Siang

However, the nearest villages did face minor effects of the eruption as ash spewed by it did come down and form a cover over the habitations. Those villages which formerly existed on the slopes of the volcano but have been abandoned were covered by two inches of ash. The impact of the blast reached as far as Berstagi, a tourist destination more than 12 miles away, as it plunged into gloom during daytime.

As of now, the human cost of Mount Sinabung's eruption is the displacement of 30,000 people into safer areas. With the possibility of further activity, the second-highest level of alert is still in effect. People have been advised to not enter the zone within a three-kilometer radius of the volcano crater.

The volcano's crater is at a height of 2,460 meters or 8,071-ft. The mountain on which the volcano is located is called Karo. Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands. Due to the location of these islands around the ring of fire, there are 120 volcanoes in the country. Mount Sinabung is just one of them.