Mount Hobalt, an underwater volcano off the coast of Lembata island, East Nusa Tenggara, briefly erupted on Tuesday but did not cause any damage, officials and residents said.
“Based on information received from the head of the Center for Vulcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation [PVMBG], the mountain erupted Tuesday morning,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said.
Sutopo called on villagers living around the volcano to remain alert, but added that there was no need for residents to be evacuated from the area.
“The PVMBG is closely monitoring the volcano,” Sutopo said.
Petrus Bote, who heads the district’s disaster mitigation office, said that district authorities were preparing for the possibility of a larger eruption by bolstering stocks of emergency relief supplies and increasing manpower around the area.
“Many people, including fishermen, saw the peak of [Mount Hobalt] surface for a few minutes,” Peter said on Tuesday.
He said that a similar phenomenon took place when the volcano last erupted in May 1999.
Tini Thadeus, the head of the NTT Disaster Mitigation Agency, said that the volcano briefly belched a column of smoke and ash that reached between 1,000 and 2,000 meters above sea level at around 7:13 a.m. on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Victor Mado Watun, the island’s deputy district chief, said that another volcano, Mount Ile Wereng, which straddles the inland subdistricts of Atadei and Wulandoni, also experienced a brief eruption.
Victor said that a three-kilometer radius danger zone around the two mountains has been declared.
“The district’s disaster mitigation office has sent two teams to the Atadei and Wulandoni. They are monitoring the activity of two volcanoes there and are registering the number of villagers living near them,” Victor said.
Hobalt is one of the five active submarine volcanoes in Indonesia, a country that sits on three geological fault lines dotted with volcanoes.