Mount Lokon volcano (Sulawesi, Indonesia) : A strong ash cloud on January 2 2013

Fireworks at Mount Lokon (2011). The night was lighting up near Manado, Sulawesi as Mount Lokon spewed fire and ash into the air. Once more we ask our readers to click on the links below drom the Manado Trubun, the local newspaper.  Image page 1 - Image page 2 - Image page 3 - Image page 4 - Image page 5 (Pictures from Jacky Chen and Rizky Adriansyah)


Update January 2, 2013

Mount Lokon, Sulawesi, Indonesia erupted again on Wednesday January 2 2013, sending a 3.5 km ash plume into the sky. Comment with the video : This was shot from Manado, you could see the ash cloud blowing to the sky, but lava and pyroclastic flow was not visible here. This was recorded at new year’s afternoon of 2012 to 2013

Important update December 17, 2012

Mount Lokon erupted a little earlier today. People living near the volcano were surprised by a loud bang at 12:12 PM local time. The explosion was followed by hot ash-rich eruption clouds climbing to a height of 9000 fr or 3000 meters.
The volcano is in "standby or Siaga" status (second highest alert) since many months as the feeder basis remains open to fuel new eruptions. Ni special precautions have been taken at the moment. Since longer time, there is a 2.5 km NO-GO zone around the crater.
Tomohon a nearby village escaped merely to the ash fall today because of a favourable wind direction.
The image below is the VAAC (Volcanic Ash Advisory) map as reported by VAAC for 13:30 UTC . Ash concentrations are alerted up to 10,000 ft. Air traffic is requested to respect the alerts given by VAAC.
The volcano is active since a longer time, but eruptions like today's are only happening now and then.

Update April 24, 2012

Mount Lokon erupted yesterday at 10:20 pm local time. The ground was shaking slightly in a radius of 5 km around the volcano.  The authorities have set a NO-GO radius of 2.5 km around the volcano and do have plans ready to make the radius even bigger in which case villages might have to be evacuated. There are NO settlements within the current 2.5 km zone. The evacuation plans go back to last year's eruption when the volcano first erupted after a long time of little activity. Since that moment, the volcano has erupted in a similar way than yesterday.  Indonesia's BNPB is on site to provide assistance to the Tomohon district. BNPB asks people should remain calm and continue to improve preparedness . Gunung Lokon, as the people call the volcano in Indonesia, can harm flight traffic to and from Manado as this big Sulawesi city is very nearby. The airport had to be closed a few times because of too much ash particles in the air.
Mount Lokon is currently classified in Siaga level by the Indonesian volcano authorities (PVMBG) (unchanged since July 24 2011) . Siaga is the second highest alert level on 4.
No recent images yet as it was very cloudy during the eruption. All pictures of the erupting volcano on the Internet are older ones.

UPDATE 22/08-14:05 UTC : A number of solar panels located near the crater of Locon volcano have been destroyed by the August 17 eruption. Some lava bombs were measuring 0.5 meter in diameter.  Damage was severe and should be repaired, said a person of the Volcano Observation Post in Tomohon.
It is the third time that this happens. The panels are installed only 500 meters from the crater. Damaged solar panels must be repaired as soon as possible because they serve as a supplier of electrical energy to the seismographs. The repair is very risky if the volcano is still active. At the moment there is still enough electricity to follow the seismic tremors of the volcano efficiently.

UPDATE 18/08-22:00 UTC : At 13:25 (1:25 PM) on August 17  Lokon volcano spewed surprisingly a new burst of volcanic ash in the air. Part of the ash came down in Tomohon village.   Although the eruption was almost over for many days, the volcanic seismic activity continued all the time. The PVMBG (Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation) warned the local people that a 2.5 km NO-GO radius should be respected and that they should remain vigilant for eventual new sudden eruptions.  Authorities told the press that there is no reason for evacuation at the present state of the volcano.

UPDATE 27/07 - 18:01 UTC : Indonesian volcanology agency has lowered the alert status of the Lokon volcano in North Sulawesi in the central parts of the country after it has erupted for weeks, and over 5,000 evacuees begin to return to their homes.

UPDATE 18/07 - 16:50 UTC : Some new pictures in the Manado Tribun are showing still activity  of the volcano. Click here for the page with a recent picture.

UPDATE 18/07 - 07:59 UTC : VAAC  Darwin (Volcanic Ash Advisory) has no longer ash bulletins for the Lokon volcano, which means that the powerful eruption subsided a lot.

UPDATE 18/07 - 07:58 UTC : Unfortunately there is not a lot of video footage of the eruption itself. The distance from the camera to the eruting cater is too big to shoot detailed video.

UPDATE 18/07 - 07:56 UTC : Amateur eruption video. The video is not showing much more than the ash cloud, but it is always impressing to see a volcano in eruption.

UPDATE 18/07 - 07:54 UTC : short CCTV news coverage of the eruption including the evacuation side effects.

UPDATE 17/07 - 11:02 UTC : Warembungan village has also been warned by the SAR people to be cautious.  Authorities have distributed free masks to the public.


UPDATE 17/07 - 10:55 UTC : Todays eruption spewed the ash as high as 3 km into the air. Today's eruption is the most powerful since the eruption process started. The highest level the ash reached until today was 1,500 meter

UPDATE 17/07 - 10:53 UTC : Schools are presently reshaped in evacuation camps. Authorities are looking for other suitable places to relocate the evacuees. Reason : they want to keep the schools for the schoolchildren.

UPDATE 17/07 - 10:52 UTC : The authorities have informed the villagers of Tinoor to be very careful and to be ready to be evacuated if necessary. A SAR (Search and Rescue) team has visited the area and the Tinoor people were very surprised to hear about a possible evacuation. As the volcano area is still at the highest alert, SAR people try to get a precise picture of 'who to look for' in case of a deterioration of the eruption.

UPDATE 16/07 - 17:54 UTC : Authorities are keeping the Lokon volcano at level IV.

UPDATE 16/07 - 17:52 UTC : 749 volunteers are helping the evacuees.

UPDATE 16/07 - 17:46 UTC : Indonesian authorities have disclosed that 4,889 people have been evacuated to shelters in safer areas (since Tuesday).  Some other people have also evacuated but have been welcomed by relatives in other villages. Some evacuees are complaining about the living conditions in the shelters. Reports are indicating a shortage of food, although authorities do their utmost to help the people.

UPDATE 16/07 - 08:15 UTC : The UNSRAT University has send volunteers to the Tomohon area to help the people who have to stay in the evacuation centers.

UPDATE 15/07 - 19:44 UTC : A 2:47 AM local time, Lokon volcano did send an ash column 800 meters in the sky. The renewed action comes after 14 hours of limited local ash bursts. The new eruption was preceded by a volcanic earthquake. The new ash clouds are carried to the north-west side of the island, the Tateli area.

UPDATE 15/07 - 17:41 UTC : The eruption was short lived as for many hours there is almost no ash or lava flows anymore. Seismic activity decreased a little but did not not enough go down to lower the alert level.

UPDATE 15/07 - 10:18 UTC : 28 Search and Rescue people are patrolling the Red Zone (most dangerous area surrounding the volcano (especially the sectors Kakaskasen 1 and 2 and Kinilow 1)) to search for people unwilling to evacuate.

UPDATE 15/07 - 09:21 UTC : VAAC Darwin (air traffic) has no longer warnings in place as the ash cloud was not dicovered any more on satellite images

UPDATE 14/07 - 23:35 UTC : VAAC Darwin (Volcanic Ash Advisory) is stating in his latest bulletin that the impact will be local with ash clouds reported to 1,500 meter above the crater.

UPDATE 14/07 - 23:28 UTC : Lava is flowing down the mountain in the Kinilow direction. Tomohon looks to be safe so far.

UPDATE 14/07 - 22:55 UTC : The sky above Manado, a city of 405,000 people, a is filled with thick smoke.

UPDATE 14/07 - 22:49 UTC : Most of the people living near the volcano have been wisely evacuated yesterday.  Hopefully nobody was hurt or killed during the eruption.

UPDATE 13/07 - 15:46 UTC : Emergency response services in Manado have told the press that the activity of the Lokon volcano shows a decreasing pattern. The eruption pattern is described as "small scale ash bursts". The conclusion came after analyzing the gas and seismic monitoring data. So far, the biggest bursts were on July 11 when ash was blown 700 meter into the sky.
The last several hours there was almost no seismic activity around the crater.
Authorities will lower the alert level if the current situation goes on.
Evacuated people are awaiting further instructions to return to their homes.

UPDATE 12/07 - 17:07 UTC : Evacuated people are complaining about the food distribution in the refugee shelters.

UPDATE 12/07 - 17:04 UTC : The people of Kinilow village have also been evacuate at more distance from the volcano who's alert level is stil extremely high according to local authorities.  After Tomohon, this is the second village which has been evacuated due to the eruption.

Mount Lokon volcano, Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia - Panoramio image courtesy frannytumengkol -

UPDATE 12/07 - 08:07 UTC : In general people are not afraid as the volcano follows a more or less regular ash bursts interval of 10 to 15 minutes.  Some of them are living as close as 2 km from the crater which could be VERY dangerous if a strong explosive eruption would send a pyroclastic flow along the slopes of the volcano. People should have learned lessons from the eruption of Merapi volcano which killed hundreds of people last year. People living closest to the volcano did not like to evacuate for the same reasons.

UPDATE 12/07 - 08:07 UTC : People in Kinilow, another village at the foot of the volcano refuse to leave the village and are behaving like they have no fear for the ash emitting volcano.

UPDATE 12/07 - 08:05 UTC : The situation near the volcano is unchanged. People are reluctant to evacuate as they fear looting their houses.

UPDATE 16:35 UTC : School buses have been deployed in Tomohon (village close to Mt. Lokon) to start the evacuation tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 15:08 UTC : Manado TribunNews photographer Rizky Adriansyah made some beautiful pictures from the Lokon  eruption tonight (local time). Click on the thumbnails to go to the Manado Tribun site. All the pictures are copyright Manado Tribun.  When clicking on the thumbnails (safe) you will be able to see in normal width.

UPDATE 12:40 UTC : Nearly 7,000 people living close to the volcano (including Tomohon) will be asked to evacuate on Tuesday morning.

UPDATE 12:37 UTC : The volcanic ash is currently NOT disturbing the International airport at Manado (this airport was closed for approx. 24 hours during the last Soputan volcano eruption)

UPDATE : The last major eruption of Lokon was on October 24 1991. Some villages had to be evacuated. An amateur Swiss volcanologist was killed while observing the eruption. (from James Daniell Volcano CatDat)

UPDATE : For the people in the greater area of the Lokon volcano (Mount Lokon), this is the second eruption which brings annoying ash showers. Before Lokon it was another Sulawesi volcano, Soputan, who erupted and threw even more ash in the sky. The distance in between both Sulawesi volcanoes is approx. 40 km.

UPDATE : Warembungan district (4 villages) has suffered another day from ash showers. Yesterday, the ash showers were mixed with rain and villagers spoke about "mud falling out of the sky". Life in Warembungan goes on like normal. The most annoying aspect of the current eruption is the dust in the streets.

UPDATE : The local administration has decided not to evacuate the surrounding villages yet, but to rather keep them ready to evacuate if necessary.

UPDATE : The alert level has been raised from III to IV (highest)

The eruption started in June and has gone up and down since then.

Smithsonian Institute most recent information (bulletin from 29/06 to 05/07)
CVGHM reported that during 1-25 June white plumes rose 50-200 m above Tompaluan crater, in the saddle between the Lokon-Empung peaks. On 26 June a phreatic eruption ejected material that fell around the crater and produced a gray plume that rose 400 m above the crater rim and drifted N. Seismicity increased the next day and white plumes rose 50-200 m above the crater. The Alert Level was raised to 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Visitors and residents were prohibited from going within a 3-km radius of the crater.

Mount Lokon, together with Mount Empung, is a twin volcano (2.2 km apart) in the northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Both rise above the Tondano plain and are among active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Mount Lokon has a flat and craterless top.

Volcano overview
The twin volcanoes Lokon and Empung, rising about 800 m above the plain of Tondano, are among the most active volcanoes of Sulawesi. Lokon, the higher of the two peaks ( whose summits are only 2.2 km apart), has a flat, craterless top. The morphologically younger Empung volcano has a 400-m-wide, 150-m-deep crater that erupted last in the 18th century, but all subsequent eruptions have originated from Tompaluan, a 150 x 250 m wide double crater situated in the saddle between the two peaks. Historical eruptions have primarily produced small-to-moderate ash plumes that have occasionally damaged croplands and houses, but lava-dome growth and pyroclastic flows have also occurred.
text : Smithsonian Institute