As tens of thousands of people attempt to flee an erupting volcano on the tourist island of Bali, a U.S.-based volcanologist has warned it has all the tell-tale signs of becoming much worse.
With Mt. Agung volcano spewing plumes of volcanic ash 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers) into the sky, Indonesian authorities have ordered the evacuation of 100,000 residents living near the volcano due to fears of a major eruption.
“This is an eruption, this is 100 per cent an eruption,” Dr Janine Krippner told news.com.au.
For the first time in 50 years, Mt. Agung erupted early last week and according to reports, lava emerged over the weekend which Krippner said is a warning sign of things to come.
“Lava is coming out of the volcano, there’s definitely enough to cause trouble. This can get much worse, you can’t outrun this,” said Krippner.
Krippner has been following the volcano’s rumblings since September when the number of tremors recorded at Mt. Agung reached around a thousand per day.
The challenge now is that the lid of the volcano has been lifted and there is nothing stopping the molten rock.
“The danger is that this is now an open system. Before, it was a closed system which means that there was no easy open access between the magma and the surface,” said Krippner.
“Now that that has completely made its way through, this can change quickly. It doesn’t have to force its way through the rock any more, now it’s just coming out.”
She added that a combination of factors have steadily increased the pressures that are driving the eruptions.
“It’s like shaking up a bottle of Coke and then taking the lid off,” she said.