Volcano erupts in eastern Indonesia spewing miles-high ash tower

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A volcano in eastern Indonesia erupted on Sunday morning, spewing an ash tower more than two miles into the sky and prompting officials to warn people to keep away.

Mount Ibu, located on the island of Halmahera in North Maluku province, erupted at 12:37 am (1537 GMT Saturday) and sent a thick column of dark smoke and ash west of the peak.

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The eruption lasted more than three minutes and the ash towered 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) above the peak, an official at Mount Ibu's monitoring post, Axl Roeroe, said in a statement on Sunday.

“To residents and tourists near Mount Ibu, please do not conduct any activity within a two-kilometer radius (of the crater),” he said.

The alert level for the 1,325-metre (4,347-foot) volcano remained at a two on the four-tiered system and there was no evacuation order after the eruption.

But authorities urged people to wear face masks and glasses when doing outdoor activities and to anticipate falling volcanic ash.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago nation, experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”.

Earlier this month, Mount Ruang in North Sulawesi erupted, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

The Sam Ratulangi International Airport in the city of Manado, located more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the crater, was also shut for days.

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