(Kyodo) _ Indonesian authorities have raised the status of volcanic Mt. Karangetang in central Indonesia to its highest alert after it spewed lava and hot clouds, the Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said Sunday.
The center has raised the status of the 1,784-meter volcano from orange to red, the highest level, which means a major eruption is possible within 24 hours, since Saturday, but only announced it Sunday evening.
According to the center, the decision to raise the level was taken after continuous earthquakes were recorded from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday. Earthquakes were also recorded Saturday and Sunday.
"Thick smoke as high as 500 meters from the peak of Mt. Karangetang has been frequently seen and hot lava is sliding down as far as 2 kilometers to the nearby rivers of Keting and Bahembang," the center said in a statement.
Karangetang, which is also known as Api Siau, is on the island of Siau in North Sulawesi Province, about 2,500 km northeast of Jakarta. It is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, having erupted 41 times since 1675.