Friday 25 October 2013

Eruption on Mount Sinabung, Sumatra.

Mount Sinabung, a 2460 m stratovolcano in the Karo Regency, North Sumatra, erupted at about 6.00 am local time on Thursday 24 October 2013 (11.00 pm on Wednesday 23 October, GMT), producing a 3000 m column of ash. Communities to the south and east of the volcano reported suffering ashfalls, and those closest were temporarily evacuated. Sinabung began erupting intermittently in September this year, after a three year gap following a series of eruptions in August-September 2010. Prior to this is had been inactive for around 400 years.

Ash column rising from Sinabung. Ade Sinuhaji/AFP/Getty Images.

Sinabung, like most of the volcanoes of northern Sumatra, lies on the boundary between the Burma Plate to the west and the Sunda Plate to the west. The Burma Plate is being pushed northward relative to the Sunda Plate, by the northward motion of the Indo-Australian Plate to the southeast, creating a transform fault (the Great Sumatran Fault) which bisects northern Sumatra. To the west the Indo-Australian Plate is being subducted beneath the Burma Plate along the Sunda Trench, passing under the island of Sumatra as it sinks into the Earth. As this happens the plate is melted by the heat of the planet's interior, creating liquid magma which rises easily through the fault zone, fueling the volcanoes of Sumatra.

The approximate location of Mount Sinabung. Google Maps.

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