Semeru volcano on Indonesia’s Java island spews hot clouds

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on Indonesia’s most densely populated island of Java, spat hot clouds up to 4.5 kilometers (nearly 3 miles) on Saturday .

There were no immediate evacuations, but the National Disaster Mitigation Agency warned residents of villages on the slopes of the 3,676-meter (12,060-foot) high mountain to be vigilant in looking for danger signs.

Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati said residents of the river basin on the mountain slopes should be wary of the heavy rainfall that can trigger lava flooding.

Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation did not raise the alert status of Semeru, which was already at the third highest level since its eruption began in May. The volcano spat hot ash 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) in early December, causing panic among villagers.

Indonesia, an archipelago of over 250 million people, sits on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.

A severe earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi early Friday, killing at least 46 people.

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