Monday, November 27, 2017

The 1963 eruption of Agung volcano, Bali Indonesia

After more than 100 years of slumber, Mt. Agung came back to life on February 18, 1963. Loud noises and a cloud rising from the crater were noticed, then the ejection of bombs and blocks.

On February 24, 1963, highly viscous lava flows began to travel down the northern flank of the volcano, reaching a length of 7 km in about 18 to 20 days and an elevation of 510 m above sea level.

The flows were about 0.5-0.8 km wide and 30-40 m thick. Rough estimates indicate a total volume of these flows of about 50 million cubic meters.

After that phase, the eruption became more and more explosive, and on March 17, 1963, the paroxysmal sub-Plinian eruption took place, generating a eruptino column of 8-10 km height that collapsed to form devastating pyroclastic flows.

These flows reached distances of up to 15 km from the crater following vallezs to the south and east, at speeds of about 60 km/hour.

Many villages were destroyed and more than 1000 people lost their lives. Heavy tephra fall occurred in areas west of the volcano, where up to 50-70 cm of ash were deposited.

In May, the south peak of the crater wall collapsed, lowering its height for about 200 meters. The lowest crater wall at present is the upper end of Langon river (2600 m).

When Bali's Mount Agung last erupted in 1963, an estimated 1,500 people were killed in lava flows, mudslides and deadly gas clouds.


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