Indonesia’s Ruang Volcano Eruption Forces Airport Closures

Hakuna Zar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh eruptions of Indonesia’s Mount Ruang volcano on Tuesday has resulted in the forced closure of seven surrounding airports in the region.

Located on Ruang Island in the Indonesian archipelago’s Sitaro islands, three eruptions on Tuesday have seen the closure of Sam Ratulangi International airport in the North Sulawesi province.

Airport Closures and Evacuations

The larger regional airports of Manado and Gorontalo were also reported as closed. Authorities have also ordered evacuations for as many as 12,000 local inhabitants.

Volcanic ash can pose a significant hazard to airplanes, as it can cause significant damage to engines and reduce visibility.

Airlines operating in the region, including Malaysia Airlines, also cancelled flights due to ash concerns. Flights to Borneo, specifically Sabah and Sarawak, were affected by these cancellations.

Yesterday Indonesian authorities raised the alert level and ordered the closure of a neighbouring airport. Smoke continues to pour from the volcano on Wednesday, 1 May 2024 after eruptive columns reportedly exceeded 5 km (3 miles) in altitude.

The warning is now in place from the Indonesian geological agency which urges people to remain clear of the volcanoes active crater by at least 4 miles.

Concerns remain for the development of a tsunami if the volcanic dome of the mountain should collapse into the surrounding sea.

Volcanoes and Indonesia

Indonesia, an archipelago nation, is also a land of fire. Straddling the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Alpide belt, two of the most geologically active zones on Earth, Indonesia boasts hundreds of volcanoes, both active and dormant.

This volcanic activity shapes the landscape, creates fertile soil, and also presents a natural hazard which impacts the aviation sector.

Indonesians have a long history of living alongside volcanoes. They revere these mountains, often considering them sacred places.

However, they also understand the risks. Indonesia has a robust volcano monitoring system that helps predict eruptions and warn communities.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 2 Min Read
2 Min Read
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