active volcano after years of non-active

Angry rumblings: Mount Sinabung spews smoke in Suka Nalu village, Tanah Karo, North Sumatra, on Monday. The volcano that erupted for the first time in four centuries on Sunday spewed fresh plumes of smoke early Monday morning, causing panic in nearby villages and delaying local flights, officials said. Reuters/Tarmizy Harva
Tanah Karo – An Indonesian volcano sent a new, powerful burst of hot ash high into the air early Friday, violently shaking homes and trees along the slopes and sending panicked villagers scurrying back to safety. The air was thick with the smell of sulfur and visibility was limited to just a few yards (meters). Mount Sinabung erupted for the first time in four centuries on Sunday and Monday, catching many scientists off guard and forcing at least 30,000 people living along its fertile slopes in North Sumatra province to be evacuated.
In recent days, as the mountain quieted, many had returned home to tend to their dust-covered crops and to reopen small businesses, despite warnings by vulcanologists that the alert level was still high.

The eruption Friday, which started at around 4:45 a.m., as many people were sleeping, appeared to be the strongest yet, said Surono, who heads the nation's volcano alert center, adding that the tremor could be felt five miles (eight kilometers) away.
Mount Sinabung last erupted in 1600, and government vulcanologists acknowledged they had made no efforts before the mountain started rumbling last week to sample gases or look out for rising magma or other signs of seismic activity. They were too busy with more than 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a seismically charged region because of its location on the so-called "Ring of Fire" — a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.
They said from now on they will be watching it very closely.
There are fears that current activity could foreshadow a much more destructive explosion in a few weeks or months, though it is possible, too, that the mountain will go back to sleep after letting off steam. AP/VOI (rini)

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