East Halmahera, Indonesia
Volcano Dukono, Soputan, Lokon 2014
10th to 19th June
M. Szeglat, R.Roscoe,Th.Boeckel
Away from the usual volcano trouble the visit of the
nearly two years active volcano Dukono was planned.
Among other things, our attention turned to the country
and its people. Actually, I expected in East-Halmahera a
completely simple infrastructure and a more or less
larger village. But it was not like that, and the road
to the 80 km distanced airport Kao was brand new and
Tobelo presented itself to be a modern town.
The ash cloud from the volcano seen from the city of
The spectacular drive by mopeds turned out as highly
adventurous. Two people plus two thick backpacks on one
moped. Is that possible? Yes it’s possible. Because of
the rough terrain the moped rallye came to an end around
5 km and the further way was taken by foot. Technically,
the jungle path can be classified as not too heavy at
all. Alternately you pass deep stream gullies and hidden
jungle landscapes. In the upper part dense reeds with
lush ferns are present. However, the upper part had
prepared us a surprise and we were faced with a special
of the grubbiest form.
Resting camp after 3h walk.
... sound like a catastroph film, and was
experienced real at the volcano Dukono. But for this
condition you need some assumtions.
1. The jungle ascend path should be at the end
strikt under the strong ash cloud for one hour
2. The plants shoud be so exuberant, that the
height of the fearns and reed is is up to 3-4m. So the
ash can adhere successful on the participants.
3.And now the most important. The strong rain. This rain
is may bonding the airial ash and you miss the rabbling
in you eyes or the common gnashing, but the ash cover on
your skin increases with every minute and you will be
really amazed when the ash layer grows up to an half
Now the dirt composition is perfect.
Also when this layer gets dry, you will be surprised
how strong the cement like ash shell can be. Not to
clean with normal lavation procedures.
Ash is your best companion at the camp all the time.
Eruptions with lightning
Unexpectedly in the afternoon and in the first night of
the 10th to the 11th of June lightning eruptions were
detected by us. Unlike volcanic hydrogen explosive these
flash eruptions were recognized by short and loud bangs.
Initially, the eruptions were monotonous dull and gray.
In the twilight hour there was no sign of red. Flashes
were rare again. And so the cameras were wrapped up in
In the morning of the 11th June an extremely
violent and powerful eruption impressed me in its
beauty. Ultimately, our guess was correct. During a
fierce growl I was torn out at 4:00 from sleep and
completely drowsy I stared at the spectacular natural
wonder. Hundreds of glowing bombs and micro flashes
lined the crater rim (similar Eyjafjallajöküll) and
pushed it up to a powerful lightning ash cloud of the
height of estimated two or three kilometers. However,
the moon had already set, and thus the spectacle could
not to be photographed due to the lack of illumination.
Also bad if the cameras were crisscrossing scattered in
the tent. Luckily the Dukono had in the blue hour still
a violent eruption again. Combined with the divine
lightning and the stars in the background it was a
fantastic sight. Once in retrospect it was almost the
only clear sky night in our time and I can say, well
In the third night the activity changed into a
Strombolian activity. In comparision of the mighty
crater this activity seems weak, but some bombs were
ejected may up to 300m and also behind the crater rim.
Ascend to the crater
Much noisier was the position at the crater rim. Was the
characteristic of the crater about one kilometer in
diameter already impressive you will be surprised to get
a stony welcome and you will loose laughing when you see
that the bombs are impacting far behind the rim. O.K
here we go…L
At the edge of the crater a misty overview inside the
crater expected us, but during the clear observation
gaps we got an extra demonstration how powerful and full
of energy this tube was blowing out..
By persistently increasing seismic and an alert
status of the second highest level since about
two months the observation of the Soputan
volcano in North Sulawesi was of
great interest. Also by volcanologists a
was expected since a longer time.
2014: The quiet volcano (Th. Boeckel).
2009: The volcano with a side glowing mini dome (Th. Boeckel).
2012: Lokon in eruption (R. Roscoe)
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