Sumatra's Nirwana Crater erupts, tourists advised to stay clear

JAKARTA: The Nirwana Crater, also known as Nirwana Keramikan in Lampung Province, located in the south of Sumatra, has experienced three eruptions on Friday (May 24) between 8.30am and 9am Western Indonesian time, sparking concern.

In response, the Regional Disaster Management Agency of West Lampung, along with the army and police, have advised the public and tourists to stay calm, remain vigilant, and avoid the crater, renowned for its hot springs.

The crater, an active volcanic caldera spanning 128 square kilometres, was a popular geothermal tourist destination situated within the Bumi Crater Tourist Park area, part of the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Suoh, West Lampung.

"The eruptions caused panic among local residents and tourists. Fortunately, there were no casualties, and the situation is gradually stabilising,” said National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Abdul Muhari.

He pointed out that this was the first eruption of the Nirwana Crater in 91 years, with the last one occurring in 1933.

"The first eruption emitted sand, the second released lava, and the third spewed thick black smoke. The eruptions were accompanied by loud explosions, audible several kilometres away," he said in a statement.

The Nirwana Crater, often compared to Yellowstone Lake in northwestern Wyoming, United States, had experienced an increase in temperature and the appearance of small stones post-eruption, raising concerns about the possibility of further eruptions.

"Expert teams are currently investigating the eruption. Updates on the analysis and the latest conditions will be provided as they become available," Abdul Muhari added.

Local media reported that tourism and farming activities had been suspended due to the aftermath of the eruption, with cloud clusters reaching heights of 25 metres.

Indonesia, with approximately 127 active volcanoes, is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and often experiences volcanic activities and earthquakes. - Bernama

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