Written by By Jennifer Peltz, CNN
If Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung erupts again, this could be what it looks like.
The volcano, which has been erupting since 2012, is seen here in on March 13 in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Credit: BANDAR ALI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Massive clouds of ash, smoke and rocks are beginning to shoot up from a volcano in western Indonesia after torrential rain on the slopes triggered a belch, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.
Residents in the area, a popular vacation spot in Karo, North Sumatra province, have been evacuated as a precaution.
The volcano, Mount Sinabung, began erupting three times last month, with clouds blowing up to 10 kilometers (six miles) into the air at one point.
In late February, the same volcano erupted for an entire day.
The last time Mount Sinabung erupted was in 2012, when it spewed “lahars” — a hot torrent of debris, rocks and dust that swept over entire villages.
The explosion, which killed at least 38 people, was the fourth this century.
Experts say that this eruption, which is unlike previous ones, could be a sign of something more serious to come.
Rain, earth tremors
Heavy rain fell on the mountain on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement on the Disaster Mitigation Agency’s website.
“The rain caused water levels to rise and strong earth tremors,” the statement said.
“At 5 p.m. [Thursday], Sinabung erupted for about an hour. Earthquakes were detected by the seismographic station, including a 6.7-magnitude and a 4.8-magnitude.”
The 4.8 magnitude quake, the deepest of the three, was about 4 miles under the volcano, the agency added.
On Sunday, there was further rainfall and vibrations.
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“The rain and earthquakes led to further eruption from the summit and sides of the volcano and heavy traffic,” the statement said.
So far, none of the ash or debris has reached inhabited areas.
“It is only at the crater from where the ash falling is observed,” the statement said.
Karo mayor Muntakarna Nakijai, meanwhile, has urged the evacuation of 100 tourists who stayed overnight near the mountain.
Scientists have warned that clouds of ash can carry away smartphones and motorcycles.
Sinabung was among 48 volcanoes monitored by the Indonesia Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.
According to CNN Indonesia, 23 of them are currently in a state of heightened alert — meaning that people within a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) radius should be prepared to evacuate.
Mount Bromo, nearby, recently erupted and part of a glacier was pulled into the air in a cloud of white and grey.