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Fixing dams to limit damage from threatening eruption JAKARTA - Workers near the Mount Kelut volcano are working hard to strengthen dams and drainage tunnels on Saturday to control a possible hot mud flow from the volcano in case of an eruption. These works come at the time that scientists have raised the alert-status of the volcano to the second highest. The dams are designed to hold back and divert deadly hot mud flows (lahar), told Saut Simatupang, a government volcanologist.

"The dams and drainage system are there to minimize the devastation Mount Kelut could make," said Simatupang, "We are racing against the clock at this time." Just last week the alert status of the volcano was raised for the first time in many years after sensors on the slopes picked up increased activity and a build up of gases. "There is no decreasing activity so far," Simatupang said. "It still has a good chance of erupting, but when? We are closely monitoring."

The volcano's explosive activity typically starts with a steam explosion - when surfacing magma meets ground water. Such eruptions produce hot mud flows, pyroclastic surges and flows, as well as ash falls. In 1919, Kelut's lahar traveled 38 kilometers in less than an hour and devastated more than 15,000 hectares of arable land. It destroyed a hundred villages and killed more than 5,000 people.

Ever since, many efforts have been put in prevention of such an event, mainly with the construction of a drainage system on the crater lake which was completed in 1926, by the then colonial Dutch government. Today, this system has been expanded and is still active to keep the total volume of the lake at the level of 2,5 million cubic meters, which is hopefully enough to limit any lahar created during an eruption.


Link to related event Related event:
Mount Kelud (Kelut) volcano

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
06 October 2007 · Hundreds start evacuation from slopes of Mount Kelut
30 September 2007 · Mount Kelut volcano in East Java getting more active


Posted in Volcanoes @ 06 October 2007 14:39 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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