Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung in massive eruption as ash spews 16,000ft into sky

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Indonesia's Mount Sinabung volcano spewed a cloud of hot ash into the sky during a massive eruption on Tuesday.

Officials said the column of white ash shot 16,000ft (3.1miles or 5km) upwards into the air.

Dramatic pictures show a huge cloud billowing above the volcano into the blue sky.

The country's volcanology centre said it was its first big eruption since August last year.

Mount Sinabung's activity has increased since last year and the alert for the volcano in North Sumatra province has been placed at the second-highest level.

No casualties have been reported although residents had been warned to stay away.

An official had earlier urged people to stay at least 3km (1.8miles) from the crater, Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre said.

Authorities recorded 13 separate blasts, according to reports.

Several areas are now said to be covered in volcanic ash.

The 8,000ft (2,460m) mountain had been inactive for centuries before it erupted again in 2010, killing two people.

Videos on social media showed little panic among residents over the eruption.

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Wirda Br Sitepu, 20, said "the mountain is not erupting, and the ash has decreased."

Indonesia straddles the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", a highly seismically active zone where different plates on the earth's crust meet.

It creates a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes.

Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.

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