Lava formation in Mount Agung decelerating: Official

Karangasem, Bali (ANTARA News) - The lava formation in the crater of Mount Agung is slowing down, the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) remarked.

"From the latest results of satellite images monitoring, lava formation is slowing down," a senior official at Indonesias Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) Devy Kamil Syahbana said here on Monday.

The slowdown of Mount Agungs lava formation occurs due to the decrease in activity inside the mount.

"The lava content cannot be calculated clearly," Syahbana remarked.

The slowdown of lava requires other data too. Statistically, the slowdown happens in two places and continues to be monitored.

From the results of the latest geochemical examination, Syahbana noted that the amount of magmatic gas of sulfur dioxide (SO2) was still high.

Differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) method identifies the magmatic gas to be quite high.

"We can only monitor various parameters. The activity of Mount Agung is still quite high," he pointed out.

However, from the SO2 examination on Saturday (Dec 2), the amount of magmatic gas content has reached 1,300 tons per day.

"For comparison, the amount of magmatic gas content has reached 300-600 tons per day," he stated.

Therefore, the volcano remains at level IV, with the potential for eruption being still high.

"Based on the current seismograph data, a volcanic earthquake is still emerging, and its energy is quite large. The activity has not weakened," he revealed.

About 26 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded from Sunday (Dec 3) to Monday. It indicates the excessive pressure in the volcano.

"Visually, the activity of Mount Agung remains calm. We can see white smoke, at a height of 500 meters from the surface of the crater," he stated.

President Joko Widodo earlier urged people living near the mount to evacuate due to warnings from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) of another larger eruption.

"There should be no public activities within a radius of 8 to 10 kilometers from the peak," Widodo stated.

The president urged the public to stay calm and follow the procedures outlined by the regional disaster mitigation office.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), along with the military, the police, and related ministries, will provide support to the Bali Provincial Government to handle the magmatic eruptions.

The president urged the Ministry of Transportation to monitor the aviation traffic for safety.

Volcanic ash from the eruption has posed danger for aircraft, the president noted.

In addition, the head of state explained that the tourists who were hampered by the closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali should be served well.

"I call on the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of Tourism, the Governor of Bali, and the district heads to handle the issue seriously. I am constantly monitoring the progress in Bali," Widodo remarked.

Source: ANTARA News

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