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A relatively large explosive eruption occurred at the volcano yesterday, sending an ash plume to estimated 11 km (34,000 ft) altitude, the Darwin VAAC reported. The ash plume was drifting west over mainland Papua New Guinea and rapidly dissipated.
The Aviation Color Code has been raised from Orange to Red.
The eruption was likely one of the volcano’s frequent paroxysms involving tall lava fountains from the summit crater with associated lava flows and/or pyroclastic flows covering parts of the northeastern flanks. Thermal emissions from the volcano have been elevated recently, suggesting that there is abundant fresh lava arriving in the summit area.
There are no reports of injuries or fatalities.
Similar ash eruptions have been occurring in the past weeks, most notably on 24 Aug and 23 Sep. On the 24 Aug eruption, an explosive eruption produced a similar ash plume to approx. 15 km (50,000 feet) a.s.l. and lava flows that forced 2000 inhabitants of the small island to flee.
According to a newspaper article, “islanders reported ash and other debris from the volcano was so thick that sunlight was totally blocked for a few hours.”
Courtesy of volcanodiscovery.com