I am not in Bali, nor am I an authority on Agung Volcano. I have not worked on Agung volcano, or any Indonesian volcano for that matter. Always look to the official sources for information, or to verify any information.
I have been getting a lot of questions from travelers who are in, or planning on being in, Bali. Travelers who don't know where to get official information, cannot read it as it is in Indonesian, and do not, understandably, understand what it means. So, right now I am a volcanology translator to try and get good information out there on the Agung situation so that people can access it. I am posting information as I get it on twitter, and I will update this page as I go.
Here is a compilation of information I am posting and I will keep adding to this as I find more. You will need to right click on the Indonesian pages and select 'translate', but be wary as translations can be pretty bad in places. 'Smoke' has so far meant gas/steam, not ash.
Official sources of information on Agung volcano, the hazard zones, and the people displaced by the activity:
MAGMA Indonesia - there is also a MAGMA Indonesia app (I am not sure if it is available for iphones, I only have an android). It is in Indonesian, though, and not easy to translate.
UPT. Pusdalops PB BPBD Provinsi Bali is posting information from the above source from what I can see.
Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral, Badan Geologi (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Geological Agency)
BNPB - Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (National Board for Disaster Management)
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho works for the BNPB and is working to dispel rumors and posts information on twitter.
The emergency radio station given by BNPB is: 146.800 MHz.
I have been getting a lot of questions along the lines of 'should I cancel my trip to Bali?'
I cannot give advice on what individuals should do - this is absolutely not my place. However, if you are planning on going to Bali, or are already there, these are my recommendations but this is not a complete list:
- Advice on what to do was published by the Tribun Bali here.
- Check your travel insurance. Does it cover canceled flights or health issues if you end up in a bad situation?
- Check your country's official government travel advice, many have a website dedicated to this and have addressed this situation.
- Check with your airline.
- Be prepared for ash fall. Volcanic ash is sharp pulverized rock, glass, and crystals. It is bad for your eyes, skin, and respiratory systems. Advice on how to prepare (in several languages) can be found here: The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network
Here is where you can find an interactive map with the danger zones. You can zoom in and make sure you are not in them! Stay out of the danger zones, they are based on where the most dangerous products that Agung may produce can go.
|Interactive hazard map, link above.|
|Hazard map without the current radial exclusion zones.|
Below is a translation of a Tribun Bali interview with Surono. I had a lot of help from Bambang Ardayanto, who did most of the work. This interview is important as it shows the levels of uncertainty the scientists and government officials are dealing with.
When the news regarding volcanoes at Indonesia are going widespread, Mr Surono become one of the people who people are looking for and asking him for his analysis and getting his opinion.
It can be understood since Mr Surono (62) is an expert of volcanologist and geophysics in Indonesia.
Grandpa Rono, the name people call him, was very popular during the Merapi, near Yogyakarta city, eruption in 2010.
During that time, he was the Chief of PVMBG (Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi) or Center of Volcanology and Mitigation of Geology Disaster.
This graduate Doctor from University of Savoei, Chambery, France, on Sunday (24/9/2017) was in Bali, accompanied the team from the Ministry of Maritime Coordination, and visited refugees at the camp at Tanah Ampo, Karangasem.
During his visiting, Tribune Bali interviewed Mr Rono regarding the increase of Mt Agung activity.
Tribun Bali (TB):
If Mt Agung erupts, how powerful might the explosion be according to your opinion?
If we refer to the 1963 eruption, it could be same. But it can also differ. Maybe lower, maybe greater or maybe no explosion?
TB: Why might there be no explosion?
S: Because we cannot rely on the tremor frequency only. If there is frequent tremor and all of the gas is released from the magma, it will not produce an explosion. We can't predict based on tremor activity and then make an explosion or eruption power prediction. Tremors or volcanic earthquakes are a sign of the high level of volcanic activity. This level of activity can't be used as a reference to predict a big eruption, even if the level of volcanic earthquakes and volcano activity inside the crater increases.
TB: from the monitoring signals of the activity at Mt Agung that you have observed, can we conclude if and when Mt Agung will explode or erupt?
S: No, we cannot. It should be understood that warning alert levels like Warning (Awas - the current level), Watch, Advisory, or Normal, are not to predict when the big eruption will come and how powerful the eruption will be. Although the volcano activity is increasing, people cannot judge if it will lead to an actual eruption. So, if the magma starts rising up, does it mean the eruption will occur? No. We don't know.
TB: It may have no eruption, can you explain?
S: It may only produce lava. It is like an eruption but not an explosion.
TB: if there is an explosion, what are the impact levels?
S: At least the direct impacts should not pass the radius of 9 km and the extended sector 12 km from the mountain. This zone has been announced by the government.
So the people within this dangerous area must be evacuated. Don't make assumptions, because if we make a wrong assumption, it is real mistake, and if you're right maybe it’s only just luck.
The next page;
TB: Compared to the Agung eruption of 1963, it was stated that the power of the eruption was 10 times higher than the Mt Merapi eruption in 2010. Is this right? What is the probability of the eruption power of Mt Agung if it erupts or explodes?
S: It may higher than Merapi, it may lower, or it might not erupt at all. Look at Merapi, it can have larger eruptions than before. If Mt Agung explodes like it did before, the people removed from exclusion zone within 9 km to 12 km from the mountain will safe. If people have moved according to the recommendations they should be safe.
TB: How hot in degrees Celsius can the magma and the lava that move up Mt Agung get?
S: It may around 1000 to 1300 degrees Celsius for the molten lava. It will move and then cool to a lower temperature.
TB: about Mt Agung, what is the magma composed of?
S: About the same as at other volcanoes, Sulphur, CO2, Silica etc.
TB: What about the gas inside the magma?
S: If we talk about gas, mostly any volcano has this. Because of the change from the hot temperature to lower or cooler, the yield of this process is gas output. Magma mixed with Sulphur gas, CO2 and others.