DEEP inside the giant volcano that has Indonesian authorities, residents and tourists on edge, magma is rising.
Molten rock, which has been accumulating for the last 50 years or more, is heating up and slowly dissolving the rock above, while the pressure is pushing through the volcanic crevice and finding weak points to penetrate.
Increased temperature in the groundwater is creating steam filled with gases like sulphur dioxide; it’s been steaming away quite strongly over the last week. Volcanic gases, which smell really bad and are quite dangerous, fill the air.
A plume hovers above off the top of the volcano about 500 metres above the crater’s rim.
It’s getting thicker, pulsating a little bit.
As it’s doing that, the mountain is shaking, there’s deep volcanic earthquakes. 10-15 kilometres below the surface the rocks are melting, interacting with water and ocean sediment, melting, trying to bubble their way up to their source.
Once they do, that’s when Mount Agung will erupt.
Mount Agung, about 75 kilometres from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been shaking since August.
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But the issue for experts attempting to map out a possible eruption timeline in Bali is the fact that no one really knows when the giant, rumbling volcano will blow.
It could be in the next ten minutes for all we know. Or the next hour. It could be not at all.
For two weeks, all signs have pointed to an imminent eruption. Indonesian authorities are on standby to divert flights destined for the holiday island as increasingly frequent tremors from Mt Agung stoke fears an eruption could be imminent.
Residents have flocked to get their hands on face masks for protection from the looming volcanic ash that many fear will cripple the island; they’ve seen it all before.