Santorini Volcano (Greece): Earthquake Swarm Southwest Off The Island

An earthquake swarm has been occurring near the island since this morning. So far, 16 quakes of magnitudes between 2 and 3.9 and at depths ranging between about 30-6 km have been detected.

The quakes are clustered about half way between Santorini’s SW end and the Christiana Island group.

The strongest shock with magnitude 3.9 occurred at 10:27 local time and might have been felt weakly by residents of the southern part of Santorini.

Although the quakes are near the Kameni line, a tectonic lineament in SW-NE direction which has been the preferred location for magma ascent (i.e. formation of volcanic vents) in the volcano’s past few 100,000 years of history, there is currently no indication that the earthquakes are volcanic in origin. It is much more likely that they represent a normal tectonic event.

However, Santorini being both a popular tourist destination and an active volcano, the situation merits close monitoring.

Bali Volcano Shoots New Burst Of Ash; Flights Unaffected

A volcano on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali shot a new burst of hot ash into the air early Sunday in the latest of the country’s several eruptions within a week.

Mount Agung erupted for about three minutes, spewing white clouds of smoke and ash more than 700 meters (2,300 feet) into the air, the Volcanology and Geological Mitigation Agency said in a statement.

The eruption of the 3,031-meter (9,940-foot) volcano didn’t prompt evacuations, and its alert status remains at the second-highest level. The agency warned tourists to stay away from the danger zone in a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) radius around the crater.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said that white dust from the eruption blanketed several villages close to the mountain slope in Karangasem district.

Ngurah Rai International Airport spokesman Arie Ahsanurrohim said that flights were operating normally. Authorities said the air around Denpasar, the Bali provincial capital, is clear from ash.

More than 140,000 people had fled the area around the mountain in late September after its alert status was raised to the highest level, indicating an eruption may be imminent. The alert status was lowered two weeks later, allowing for the return of those displaced from government shelters.

An eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people. Agung lies about 70 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Bali’s tourist hotspot of Kuta.

It is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes because of its location on the so-called “Ring of Fire” — a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

Last week, Anak Krakatau in Indonesia’s Sunda Straits erupted and collapsed into the sea, causing a tsunami that killed 431 people on Java and Sumatra. More than 46,600 were displaced.

Indonesian Volcano That Triggered Tsunami Loses Two-Thirds Of Its Height

Anak Krakatoa, the Indonesia volcano that triggered a deadly tsunami a week ago, has lost two-thirds of its height, a government agency said.

The volcano’s height went from 338 meters (1,108 feet) above sea level to 110 meters (360 feet), Indonesia’s Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said in a report.

Additional eruptions from Monday to Thursday also caused the volcano to lose volume of 150 million to 180 million cubic meters (5.3 billion to 6.4 billion cubic feet), the report said. Its volume is now 40 million to 70 million cubic meters (1.4 billion to 2.5 billion cubic feet).

The December 22 tsunami was triggered by a volcanic eruption that caused a 64-hectare (158-acre) chunk of Anak Krakatau to slide into the ocean.

Government and rescue agencies cited multiple factors in the wave that struck coasts on the islands of Java and Sumatra. The eruption came at high tide during a full moon, and the Sunda Strait, which runs between Java and Sumatra, also had been experiencing high rainfall.

On Saturday, Indonesia revised the number of people killed in last week’s tsunami to 426 people from an earlier toll of 430, citing duplications in government recording.

At a press briefing Friday, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman at Indonesia’s disaster management agency, said 7,202 people had been injured, 29 people remained missing and 43,386 had been displaced.

Officials said this week that sensors had been placed near Anak Krakatau for better detection of activity within the volcano in hopes of providing a warning about eruptions.

Indonesian authorities have been roundly criticized for the state of the country’s tsunami detection and warning system, which has been largely out of action since at least 2012.

The alert level for the volcano remains at its second-highest — Level 3. Tremors continue and a pyroclastic flow, a mix of ash, rock and volcanic gases, runs 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the crater. Pyroclastic flow can be much more dangerous than lava.

More than half the population have been evacuated on Sebesi and Sebuku islands near Anak Krakatau in the Sunda Strait.

Sicily Is Shaken By Earthquake As Mount Etna Erupts Once Again

First came the eruption. Then, the quake.

An overnight earthquake, triggered by Mount Etna’s eruption two days ago, caused injuries and damage in Eastern Sicily early Wednesday morning. The volcano has been spewing ash and lava has flowed down its slopes since it began erupting on Monday.

The quake registered 4.8 magnitude, according to Italian news agency ANSA, which reported 600 people were displaced by the temblor. Officials said the quake was one of about 1,000 tremors — most of them small — related to Etna’s eruption, The Associated Press reports.

NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports that Italy’s Civil Protection Agency set up temporary shelters for those whose homes were damaged or who were too frightened to go home.

At least 10 people were injured, according to the AP, and others sought medical care for panic attacks or shock.

A section of a major roadway was closed, as was the railway along the Ionian coast, ANSA reported.

Images of the area showed churches and buildings strewn with rubble, fallen signs in front of shops, and toppled statues.

On Monday, ANSA reported that a new fracture had opened on Etna’s southeast crater, from which ash was spewing. Authorities closed down airspace over the airport in the nearby city of Catania.

“Etna remains a dangerous volcano, and this country of ours is unfortunately fragile,” government Undersecretary Vito Crimi said Wednesday, according to the AP. Many people reportedly slept in their cars after the quake.

Mount Etna is the most active stratovolcano in the world, according to the United Nations, which has named it a World Heritage Site. Etna has one of the world’s longest documented history of eruptions, stretching back to 1,500 B.C.

One local resident said the earthquake was worrying.

“Tremors during eruptions are pretty normal here,” Gaetano Maenza told The Guardian. “What is unusual is the level of magnitude triggered by Etna. I have no memory of such intensity. It was scary.”

Mount Vesuvius, located near Naples in a heavily populated region of Italy, has also exhibited increased seismic activity recently, according to the newspaper.

UPDATE : Rescue Efforts Underway After Tsunami Hit Indonesia Without Warning

Rescue crews are helping thousands of people who were injured or displaced after a tsunami struck the coasts of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia on Saturday night. Many residents did not receive any warning before the tsunami, which killed hundreds.

Volcanic activity on Indonesia’s famous Anak Krakatau island triggered underwater landslides that caused the tsunami, officials say. Anak Krakatau emerged from the site of an 1883 eruption that killed tens of thousands of people and has drawn tourists from around the world.

At least 373 people have died, with 128 missing and nearly 1,500 wounded, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster management agency.

Crews continue to search for survivors while retrieving bodies from the wreckage with heavy machinery and their hands, Reuters reports.

The Red Cross has dispatched 22 ambulances and more than 100 volunteers to transport the injured. Blocked streets have hindered access to health centers in Pandeglang, on the island of Java, where Doctors Without Borders volunteers are helping to treat patients injured by the tsunami and falling rubble.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived at the disaster zone on Monday, while members of the military and volunteers continue to search affected areas. Authorities have warned residents to stay away from beaches because of the risk of continued volcanic activity.

The tsunami caught residents by surprise because the country’s seismic activity detectors were not functioning properly, NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports. Nugroho acknowledged Indonesia’s detection buoys have been dysfunctional since 2012, according to The Associated Press, a result of vandalism and budget issues.

Kathy Mueller, a communications delegate with the Red Cross, was working in Indonesia when the tsunami hit — because of ongoing recovery efforts after a previous tsunami in September, which killed more than 1,700 people.

She says Saturday’s tsunami affected Java’s entire western coastline.

“There are a lot of communities we know … have not yet been accessed,” she told NPR’s David Greene. “It’s going to take some time before we get a fully clear picture of what the full extent of the damage is.”

The Indonesian Red Cross dispatched more than 117 volunteers to the affected area immediately after the disaster, Mueller says. They brought basic supplies, including blankets, clothes, food and water.

The tsunami struck Indonesia’s two most populous islands. Proximity to the nation’s capital, Jakarta, has facilitated the mobilization of volunteers, military and emergency personnel, compared to previous disasters.

Mueller adds that emergency respondents have become proficient at purifying drinking water since the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which killed more than 200,000 people.

But she says three major disasters since the summer — massive earthquakes on the island of Lombok in July and again in August, followed by September’s tsunami and earthquake on the island of Sulawesi — have taxed the country, even before the latest tsunami.

“People are a little bit tired now,” she says.

On Sulawesi, thousands of residents still live in tented camps, according to Mueller.

Now this disaster has displaced 11,000 more people in Java and Sumatra, who are residing in government buildings and camping out in tents beside hospitals.

“A lot of them were holidaymakers,” Kuhn says. “The government has tried to turn the western tip of Java into a new tourist destination to rival the island of Bali. But that effort has been suspended after this disaster.”

Several of the dead were members of the local pop-rock band Seventeen, which was performing at a year-end party in Java when the tsunami struck, sweeping away performers and concertgoers.

Indonesia Tsunami Caused By Collapse Of Volcano, Experts Confirm

Saturday’s tsunami in Indonesia was caused by a chunk of the volcanic Anak Krakatau island slipping into the ocean, it was confirmed on Monday, as officials at the country’s natural disaster agency said it must develop a new tsunami early warning system.

At least 373 people were killed, hundreds injured and many buildings were heavily damaged when the tsunami struck, almost without warning, along the rim of the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands.

Anak Krakatau had been spewing ash and lava for months before a 64-hectare section of its south-west side collapsed, an Indonesian official said. “This caused an underwater landslide and eventually caused the tsunami,” Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of the meteorological agency, said.

Images captured by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite showed that a large portion of the southern flank of the volcano had slid off into the ocean, scientists said.

The fact the tsunami was triggered by a volcano rather than an earthquake meant no tsunami warning was triggered, scientists said. Coastal residents reported not seeing or feeling any warning signs before waves of up to three meters high surged in.

Hundreds of military personnel and volunteers spent Monday scouring beaches strewn with debris in search of survivors. At least 1,459 people were injured and more than 600 homes, 60 shops and 420 vessels damaged when the tsunami struck.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the chief spokesman for the Indonesian disaster agency, said the country had no early warning system for landslides or volcanic eruptions. “The current early warning system is for earthquake activity,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Indonesia must build an early warning system for tsunamis that are generated by underwater landslides & volcanic eruptions … Landslides triggered the 1992 Maumere tsunami and the Palu 2018 tsunami.”

He also said Indonesia’s tsunami buoy network had “not been operational since 2012”. “Vandalism, a limited budget, and technical damage mean there were no tsunami buoys at this time,” he said. “They need to be rebuilt to strengthen the Indonesian tsunami early warning system.”

Sutopo said on Twitter: “Anak Krakatau has been erupting since June 2018 until now,” he said. “Yesterday’s eruption was not the biggest. The October-November 2018 period had a larger eruption.”

The death toll is expected to rise as 128 people were still missing on Monday. At least 1,600 people have also been displaced.Dody Ruswandi, a senior official at the disaster agency, added that the rescue effort was likely to last a week.

Sutopo warned locals to stay away from the coast. “People should not carry out activities on the beach and stay away from the coast for a while,” he told reporters.

The University of Queensland volcanologist Teresa Ubide said Anak Krakatau had been erupting for the past few months, which was not unusual. “It seems like the volcano is active at the moment and it may happen again,” Ubide said.

“The volcano is very close to the shoreline so … there wouldn’t be much time to warn because it’s close and the tsunamis can travel very fast,” she said. The lack of seismic activity that would accompany an earthquake was also significant, she said.

Richard Teeuw of the University of Portsmouth said sonar surveys were needed to map the seafloor around the volcano, but that work usually took months. “The likelihood of further tsunamis in the Sunda Strait will remain high while Anak Krakatau volcano is going through its current active phase because that might trigger further submarine landslides,” he said.

Kathy Mueller from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said aid workers were helping evacuate injured people, bring in clean water and tarpaulins and provide shelter.

he said the group was preparing for the possibility of diseases breaking out in the tsunami zone, adding: “The situation, and the death toll, will remain fluid over the next days and even weeks.”

The water washed away an outdoor stage where a local rock band, Seventeen, were performing, killing their bassist and manager. Other people who had been watching the band on the beach were missing.

Azki Kurniawan, 16, said his first warning about the tsunami was when people burst into the lobby of the Patra Comfort Hotel shouting: “Sea water rising!”

Kurniawan, who was undergoing vocational training with a group of 30 other students, said he was confused because he had not felt a big earthquake. He said he ran to the parking lot to try to reach his motorbike but discovered it was already flooded.

“Suddenly, a one-metre wave hit me,” he said, his eyes red and swollen from crying. “I was thrown into the fence of a building about 30 metres from the beach and held onto the fence as strong as I could, trying to resist the water, which felt like it would drag me back into the sea. I cried in fear … ‘This is a tsunami?’ I was afraid I would die.”

Thousands Flee As Guatemalan Volcano Erupts Again

Thousands of Guatemalans are evacuating their homes as the Volcán de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, erupts again near the city of Antigua.

The volcano has erupted repeatedly this year. In June, more than 100 people were killed in a violent eruption that spewed lava, ash and rocks over nearby villages.

Now, as the volcano resumes erupting once again, evacuations are underway.

Nearly 4,000 people have been cleared out of the disaster zone, including more than 2,000 housed in shelters, the government agency responsible for natural disasters says.

Whether or not local communities evacuate is up to local leaders and residents, reports Prensa Libre, a Guatemalan newspaper. The paper writes that according to authorities, all the affected communities were warned about the volcanic activity on Sunday.

The evacuations come after new lava flows were detected and following hours of mounting concern from groups monitoring the volcano’s activity.

On Sunday, the volcano was registering more than a dozen weak or moderate explosions per hour, raising concerns of hazardous lava flows.

Now those concerns have become a real risk. Glowing eruptions are rising 1,000 meters (more than 3,000 feet) above the crater. The volcano has created a column of ash stretching nearly 3 miles above sea level and multiple lava flows, with the longest more than a mile and a half long.

Ash is drifting toward Guatemala City, The Associated Press reports.

Guatemalan officials say this is the fifth eruption of the Volcano of Fire so far this year.