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Eruption Of Indonesian Volcano Forces Closure Of Airports

The departure board is reflected on the floor as a passenger sits in the international terminal at Ngurah Rai Airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Friday. Indonesian authorities closed five airports after the eruption of a volcano on Java.
The departure board is reflected on the floor as a passenger sits in the international terminal at Ngurah Rai Airport on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Friday. Indonesian authorities closed five airports after the eruption of a volcano on Java.

Volcanic ash spewing from Indonesia's Mount Raung has shut down airports and canceled flights on the resort island of Bali.

The volcano, located in East Java province, is about 95 miles west of Bali's international airport. The mountain began rumbling several weeks ago and on Friday began belching ash 12,000 feet into the air.

Mount Raung spews volcanic materials as seen from Sumber Arum village in Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia, on Friday.
/ EPA/Landov
Mount Raung spews volcanic materials as seen from Sumber Arum village in Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia, on Friday.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn says winds have blown the columns of smoke and ash southeast toward Bali and towns and villages near Mount Raung have been blanketed in ash since the volcano rumbled to life.

In all, five airports have been closed in Bali, Lombok and Java over fears that the ash could damage aircraft engines, government volcanologist Gede Suantika is quoted by The Associated Press as saying. Bali and Lombok are popular destinations for Australian holidaymakers.

"Ash can clog engines and harm other parts of the aircraft," Indonesian Transport Ministry spokesman Julius Adravida Barata is quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

The BBC says scores of flights have been postponed or canceled by airlines, including Jetstar and Virgin Australia and Indonesia's Garuda.

The AP reminds us that: "Volcanic eruptions can cause significant and lengthy disruption to travel. A 2010 eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano produced an ash cloud that caused a week of international aviation chaos, with more than 100,000 flights canceled."

Raung is one of 130 active volcanoes on Indonesia, an archipelago known as the Pacific Ring of Fire because it is perched above one of the earth's major fault lines.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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