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Tsunami possible in Indonesia as Ruang volcano experiences explosive eruption, prompting evacuations

Indonesia volcanic eruption prompts evacuations
Volcanic eruption in Indonesia forces hundreds to evacuate 00:41

Indonesian officials warned on Wednesday that tsunami waves could be possible as the eruption of Mt. Ruang intensifies. In a press release with the warning, officials said the status of the volcanic eruption, which has been occurring for days, is now at its highest level.

Indonesia's National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure, known as BNPB, said Mt. Ruang, located in the North Sulawesi province, "experienced an explosive eruption" with a column of ash reaching more than a mile high from the peak on Tuesday before it extended even further to a mile-and-a-half a day later. On Thursday, there was "another explosive eruption" officials said, with a cloud of black ash reaching nearly two miles high. 

Thursday's eruption was "accompanied by roaring sounds and an earthquake," they added. 

"The eruption of Ruang volcano caused ash rain accompanied by stones and gravel and reached residential areas on the Tagulandang coast," the agency said, citing reports from the Sitaro Regency Regional Disaster Management Agency. "Several residents were reported to have been hit by thrown gravel and rocks and have received intensive treatment." 

Those in the Tagulandang Island area and within a roughly four-mile radius of the volcano were told to immediately evacuate. According to the Associated Press, more than 11,000 people have now been ordered to leave. People who reside along the coast were also warned that tsunami waves "could be triggered by the collapse of a volcanic body into the sea." 

This fear is amplified by the 1871 eruption of Ruang that caused just that. It was witnessed by Adolf Bernhard Meyere, whose description of the event was published in the journal Nature. He described the event as "frightful," saying that three minutes after the eruption occurred, "a large sea-wave reached the shore of Tagoelanda...and destroyed three villages with 416 men." 

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