THE skies in parts of Indonesia have turned thick and dark with ash, disrupting some flights after three volcanoes erupted in the archipelago this week.
Mount Rinjani on Lombok island near Bali, the Sinabung volcano on Sumatra island and Mount Gamalama in the Moluccas chain of islands have all erupted in the the short span of a couple of days.
No injuries have been reported, but flights at two airports have been disrupted.
Sultan Babullah airport in Ternate, the capital of North Maluku province, was closed Wednesday and Lombok’s international airport was closed for several hours on Tuesday.
Ternate’s Babullah Airport will be declared closed until Thursday as volcanic ash from the eruption on Wednesday morning enveloped much of its runway, local media reported.
According to the Jakarta Globe, Mt. Gamalama erupted at 6.28 am local time.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said Volcanic the wind blew the ash south and southeast of the volcano after it rose 500 to 600 meters into the air from its crater.
“The eruption was allegedly triggered by a 4.6-magnitude earthquake which happened at 6.14 a.m. According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, the epicenter of the eruption was 86 kilometers southwest of West Halmahera at a depth of 18 kilometers,” Sutopo was quoted as saying.
Sutopo said the Babullah Airport may be back in operation at around 10 am Thursday depending on the situation.
He said the Ake Huda area which was south of Mt. Gamalama was also struck by volcanic ashes.
“Evacuation is not necessary, yet. Residents are advised to stay calm and rely on information issued by the Mt. Gamalama Monitoring Authorities,” he said.
Any activity within the radius of 1.5 kilometers from the volcano has been prohibited.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press