A volcano in Indonesia that was mistakenly thought to have erupted is baffling scientists, who said Monday that energy surging inside it had surpassed that of its last eruption in 1990.
Scientists abandoned their monitoring posts on Mount Kelut's fertile slopes on Saturday when the tremors rumbling under the volcano became so strong they could no longer be measured. They could not see the peak through heavy cloud but said they believed it was erupting. Eventually they found that it had not.
Volcanologist Agus Budianto said that the pressure of the energy rising inside Kelut, located in heavily-populated East Java, was now three to four times as strong as that which caused the last eruption, which killed 34.
That eruption has created a blockage that magma has not been able to fully break through, lifting only some volcanic material under the crater lake, resulting in a column of steam rising from its surface, he said.
"All indications point to an eruption, but the fact is, there has so far been only a partial lifting of the lava dome at the top, as well as a strong drift of heated winds upwards," Budianto said.