Mt. Sinabung Volcano 2014

  12th to 19th January 

 M. Szeglat, R.Roscoe, M.Rietze, Th.Boeckel

in deutsch

Pyroclastic flows with lightning and devastation by strong ash fall


    

Mt. Sinabung volcano landscape

At the beginning our observations at the 12/13th of January a weak activity was detected by smaller pyroclastic flows (=> short PFs) and rock fall. Did we come too late? No! - During our observations from the 13th to the 15th the activity increased to a most highly peak since weeks. Therefore it was possible to observe the glowing fronts of the PFs which are seldom and only visible by night. The special situation was, - the PFs were accompanied by fearsome flashing while sliding down soundless over the plain up to four kilometers.

Mt. Sinabung Volcano, by Th Boeckel1     2

3       4

 Single photos 1,3,4: The glowing front of the  pyroclastic flows are only visible by night. Photo 2 upper right is a composite of 5 photos

Click  to

  Animation 1 (9MB)          Animation 2 (2,5 MB)
Video Clips
Volcano Sinabung 2014 Video, by Th. Boeckel Volcano Sinabung 2014 Video, by Th. Boeckel Volcano Sinabung 2014 Video, by Th. Boeckel
Video 1 (30 MB) Video 2 (30 MB) Video 3 (36 MB)
Volcano Sinabung 2014 Video, by Th. Boeckel Volcano Sinabung 2014 Video, by Th. Boeckel Volcano Sinabung 2014 Video, by Th. Boeckel
Video 4 (43 MB) Video 5 (43 MB) Video 6 (39 MB)
     

Video of the the tour and volcano highlights, by M. Szeglat


Glowing trace of the pyroclastic flows

   

The pyroclastic flows are following like a 'given' trace in the plain which seem to appear however aslope . Why the PFs are not shooting straigt down is unknown.

Tornados

 

The heat of the pyroclastic flows and the wide dispensation of the front convert the plain into a roasting panel sheet. Due to the different heat potentials of the fresh air currency strong tornados developes itself. May they have the strenght of  an F ?.

  Mt. Sinabung Volcano, by Th Boeckel 

   

The whole scene in a wide angle objective

   

 Mt. Sinabung Volcano, by Th Boeckel    Mt. Sinabung Volcano, by Th Boeckel

Night impressions of downsliding pyroclastic flows.

   

Like a Rolling Stones tongue, the volcano shows the lava flow by good weather condition.

   

Observing the volcano intensively outside the exlusion zone without  loosing a good activity phase. Middle: Ashfall of 5 minutes shown on a tripod.

    

   

By visiting the first village we got impressed what immense mass of falling ash covered every facillity.

The mechanism of a pyroclastic flow generator

   

Now, the actual and different situation to the 1rst of February which killed a couple of local people was a nearly 800m lava loaf (tongue) which was maybe crushing down at the huge front. Hence the direction could not be determined like the “mechanism of the pyroclastic flow generator” two weeks before.

Here, the tongue was laying like a big cake in the active summit fracture. The forward moving material gets weakened in its static consistency and broke away in the approx. first third. Now the 'target mechanism' gets effective. This means that a narrow rock gash gives the dynamic direction of the forward moving material to the first plateau which is situated approx. in the half altitude of the volcano. The PFs are now finding their way pinpointing downward the flow field again and again. The volcano seems to vary in its activity. One day only smaller flows appeared, and in the next activity period the flows run down every ten minutes.

 

Than the PF is plunging down a steep rock wall on the first plateau which is situated  apprx. in the half altitude of the volcano. The PF is now finding its way pinpointing downward the flow field.

 

 

         

 

The volcano seems to vary in its activity. One day only smaller flows appeared, and in the next activity period the flows run down every ten minutes.

 

 

  

Ash devastation

   

   

On the 16th of January we observed the villages lain in the northern part of the volcano. While passing the western areal strong ash rain turns the scene in an acherontic place of destruction.

  

 

We got impressed strongly what immense mass of falling ash covered nearly every facility.

 

 

Roofs and satellite bowls broke down under the heavy load of an up to 10cm compressed ash layer, which came down three weeks before.

   

The whole harvest seems to be destroyed. Would this ash mass came down during the monsoon time the plants would have maybe cleaned by rainfalls. But the ash rich eruptions happened during the dry season. The most problem prevailed, that the plants could not practice photosynthesis what means the surely exodus.

   

Like cement the ash enclose coffee beans and whole bushes got irrecogniseable on the plantages.

 

   

   

The volcanic ash destruction make no stop before sanctuaries like graves and a mosque. Here a roof crushed down because of the heavy weight of the ash layer.

   

New plants urging through the hard ash plating.

    ,

An evacuation center in the village of Berestagi. Althought in the state of emergency life goes on in a patient way.

   

      

Of corse the people want to get back to the villages but the situation of the active volcano an the predictions of the volcanologists let dominate precaution.

     

An couple before the volcano outside the exclusion zone seemed not to be frightended at all. Also a farmer wife with her son appeared in a hopeful manner. All in all it was one of the most impressive performance of a volcano with its seldom variation of eruption. But, we had not one minute of a safety feeling while staying at the closer lain observation points.


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