The Island of Bali sits in the Ring of Fire, a tectonic belt that traces the boundaries of the Pacific Ocean.
The Island of the Gods is also home to Mount Agung, the largest active volcano in the province.
The sacred Mount Agung is one of the most majestic sights, and sites in all of Bali.
Towering above rolling rice paddies and traditional Balinese villages, Mount Agung can be seen from across the island on a clear day.
Although Mount Batur is the most popular mountain on the island for tourists, Mount Agung still attracts a fair number of intrepid travelers seeking to reach its peak.
In light of the recent tragedy on Mount Marapi in Sumatra and increasing amounts of seismic and volcanic activity in and around Agung, officials are warning tourists to limit their activities on the volcano.
Speaking to reporters on Monday 11th December, the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) of Bali Province delivered their “Evaluation of Mount Agung’s Activities in Karangasem Regency” findings.
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The report is urging communities around Mount Agung as well as climbers, local visitors, and tourists to limit activities in the crater area at the peak of Mount Agung.
The Chief Executive of BPBD Bali, Made Rentin, told reporters “During the period 1-30 November 2023, the volcano was visible until it was covered in fog. Crater smoke was not observed.”
“The weather is sunny to rainy, with weak to moderate winds to the north, southeast, and southwest.
“The air temperature is around 19-32 degrees Celsius.”
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Though Mount Agung looks quiet at the surface, activity deep below the surface is leading officials to proceed with caution.
Rentin explained that between the 1st to the 30th of November 2023, two low-frequency earthquakes, four deep volcanic earthquakes, seven local tectonic earthquakes, and fifty-seven distant tectonic earthquakes were recorded by teams monitoring Mount Agung’s condition.
Rentin added, “Volcanic earthquakes that are still being recorded indicate that there is still supply [of lava] beneath the surface of Mount Agung.”
He confirmed that the activity status of Mount Agung remains at ‘Normal – Level 1’ however, tourists, hikers, and local communities are advised to limit activities around the crater and peaks of the volcano for the foreseeable future.
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Rentin explained “Communities who live and carry out activities around river flows that originate at Mount Agung should be aware of the potential threat of secondary danger in the form of rain lava flows which can occur, especially during the rainy season and if eruption material is still exposed in the peak area.”
“The potential area for rain lava flows follows river flows that originate at Mount Agung.”
The Natural Disaster Management Agency is taking no chances when it comes to public safety following the tragedy that took place on Sumatra’s Mount Marapi earlier this month.
The death toll from the volcanic eruption that took place on Sunday 3rd December has risen to twenty-two.
It is believed that there were 75 hikers near the crater of Mount Marapi when the volcano erupted an ash cloud 3km into the air.
The ash fallout covered many of the surrounding villages and caused devastating burns and took the lives of hikers in the area.
Rescue efforts had to be paused several times due to safety concerns as the eruptions continued for days after the first blast. Mount Marapi in Sumatra is not to be confused with Mount Merapi in Java.
Bali lovers will remember the last major eruption from Mount Agung. The volcano experienced 844 volcanic earthquakes in late 2017.
In June 2018, Mount Agung erupted again, spewing 2 km-high plumes of volcanic ash into the sky and interrupting air traffic.
Most recently, in May 2019, an eruption threw lava and volcano rocks over a distance of 3 km, with some of the ash falling on nearby villages and interrupting international flights temporarily.
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