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Mount Batur Volcanic Slopes Closed to Tourism

Bali's Mount Batur Put Off-Limits to Tourists as Volcanic Status Upgraded to 'Waspada'.

(11/6/2010) 19 volcanoes across Indonesia are currently classified at a "Waspada" alert status, the second highest danger level just short of a "Siaga" status reserved for mountains at an elevated level of tectonic activity.

One of the volcanoes placed on alert is Bali's Mount Batur which, as a result, has been closed to mountain climbers and other activities on its slopes until further notice. Mount Batur is Bali's second highest volcano at 1,717 meters and is located 63 kilometers from the island's capital of Denpasar.

Bali's highest volcano is sacred Mount Agung at 3,142 meters located in the regency of Karangasem.

Indonesia's Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation Center in Badung, West Java, placed Mount Batur in a "waspada" status on November 8, 2009, moving it up from its previous classification at "normal and active" or "awas."

A unique "volcano within a volcano" Mount Batur can be closely observed by motorists driving along the edge of an ancient caldera from the villages of Kintamani and Penelokan. Mount Batur is actively emitting smoke with seismic activity also on the increase, according to the observation post manned the mountain.

According to Gede Bagiada, a government volcano watcher who works at Mount Batur, quoted by BeritaBali.com,: "In a 'waspada' status, the Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation Center is forbidding tourism and mountain climbers from venturing out onto Mount Batur. This prohibition will remain in place until such as time as the mountain resumes a more normal pattern of activity."

From 1804 until 2000 there have been 26 recorded explosions of Mount Batur. Scientist point to evidence of ancient cataclysmic explosions dating back 26,000 years. The most recent devastating explosion took place on August 2, 1926 with lava flows that devastated the village of Batur Kuno at the foot of the mountain.