Public warned of possible flood of “cold lava” after eruption

More eruptions are expected.

Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano in northern Sumatra erupted yesterday (Dec 18), spewing clouds of ash into the sky, the Xinhua news agency reported.

“Hot clouds were seen rising 2,500m to the east-southeast and 3,500m (more than two miles) to the south,” said Armen Putra,  head of the Sinabung volcano monitoring post.

The public should also remain alert for the possibility of a flood of cold lava coming from the volcano due to the recent rainy weather. (I’ve never heard of “cold lava” before.)

Thanks to Laurel for this link

11 thoughts on “Public warned of possible flood of “cold lava” after eruption”

  1. That would be a particularly poor rendition of “lahar”, or “volcanic mud flow.” Such flows can range from so hot the can cook fish to the coolness and consistency of concrete – complete with aggregate. The northern Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains are mantled in immensely thick mud flows. These are distinct from glowing ash flows where the material is hot, even molten and will consolidate into welded tuff if the cloud comes to rest quickly while the ash fragments are still molten.

    • Your comment is true in all regards but could you clarify ‘if the cloud comes to rest quickly’ ,,,,,,do you mean that if volcanic activity stops at just that time?? Thanks for your time.

      • No I don’t think he is saying that.
        Pyroclastic eruptions tend to start with a massive Ash/steam cloud suspended above the volcano which is dependent on the heat contained within the cloud, eventually the steam condenses out and the whole mass descends rapidly, – and the cloud touches the ground. But the eruption continues after the initial eruption.
        It’s very likely that a volcano’s upper reaches in a Tropical Rain forest area such as Sumatra would have a high water content, prior to the eruption. Mt St Helens exhibited a similar eruption when it flash converted its Glacial cap into steam and the resulting lahars.

        • Thanks Jim ,, So sometimes the result of a volcanic eruption is torrential rains in the area of the volcano and sometimes not depending on many factors. Always more to learn. Appreciate your input.

  2. “Lahar” is actually an Indonesian word. It’s not some English derivation of the word “Lava”.
    Lahar literally means cold volcanic mud flow.
    “Awan Panas” – Pyroclastic flows or Nuee Ardente are the real killers – they’re a fast-moving current of hot gas and volcanic matter – when cold deposited as tephra.

    Pyroclastic flows have run out as far as 7 kilometers from the vent from Sinabung. There are several villages now covered by the ash and tephra deposits from these flows.

    Sinabung is in the province of North Sumatera – 3 degrees north of the equator. As such is subjected to torrential monsoonal downpours – hence the potential of mass destruction of farms and villagers adjacent the water courses where the lahars descend.

    Sinabung erupts every day – sometimes 2 – 4 times and more. Ash plumes to 2.5 kilometers above the volcano are very common.

    It’s now been erupting for years – since 2010. Initially there was much activity but later slowed down – eruptions every few days or a week apart. Now they are coming every day.

    This is a dangerous volcano. if you think that the Indonesian Volcano authorities are worried about the situation – you can bet your sweet bippy they are. Agung in Bali is a sideshow compared to the eruptive problems Sinabung would cause in the event of a large major eruption.

    The information you find on wiki or other sources – even geo-technical sites is not quite accurate. Sinabung has always been active. It hasn’t been dormant for thousands of years.
    There were some small explosive events in 1881. Probably an eruptive event 400 years ago. There have been continuous fumarole activity since pre-colonial times.

    So how do I know all this? Wife has family who live in the town of Berastagi which overlooks Sinabung. They have lived there since pre WWII. There’s a family house within 10 kilometers line of site of Sinabung. I’ve been there many times since the 1970’s.

  3. Usually lahars are generate by melting snow mixing up with volcanic ash above the volcano slopes. They are more responsible of death than lava itself. In 1985 lahar from Nevado del Ruiz caused about 85.000 casualties.

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