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Indonesia raises alert status on Java volcano

Volcanic Alert

Indonesian scientists stepped up the alert level for a volcano in East Java and told people to stay away from the crater amid fears it is building up to an eruption. The alert for Mount Kelut was raised to the third of a four-level warning system on Sunday. It was based on recordings of increased seismic activity as well as rising temperatures in the crater lake and the shifting chemical composition of the water. The alert status had already been raised one step on September 11. Although its slopes are sparsely inhabited, the peak is a popular domestic tourist destination and is located on a densely-populated plain. Between September 26 and 29, 54 vulcanic earthquakes and nine tectonic temblors had been recorded, and signs were that their epicentre was moving closer to the surface. The lake on top of the volcano has also changed from its habitual greenish aspect into milky white, and gas is coming out. The chemical concentrate in the water had risen significantly over the previous months and the temperature of the lake was steadily rising. The volcano last blew in 1990. It has claimed more than 15,000 lives since 1500, including around 10,000 when it erupted in 1568. IMAGE: A farmer smokes a cigarette while having a break in his field as a volcano is seen churning out smoke in Java

Quakes may signal more to come
Seismologists are warning that two earthquakes near Mount Ruapehu on Monday (local time) may be a sign of more things to come. A 4.5 magnitude quake was felt just after 3pm on Monday. It was centred 10 kilometres north-east of Turangi. The quake was 5km deep. Then at 6:20pm there was another small quake, measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale. It could be an indicator that we haven't seen the last eruption from Mount Ruapehu. Mount Ruapehu is showing signs of unrest, that in itself means it is important to be cautious about it.
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