High-frequency volcanic earthquakes have increased at Bali’s Mount Agung overnight increasing the chances of a major and explosive eruption.
Noted and respected volcanologist Dr Janine Krippner warned in a tweet; “Calm on the outside but much is going on inside.”
All Australian airlines have suspended taking passengers to Bali and are striving to get stranded passengers back.
There are about 2,500 Australians still stranded on the holiday island.
Rescue flights are due to restart Sunday afternoon with Virgin Australia operating three flights, while Jetstar five flights from Bali.
On Friday the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation said in a statement that the rate of seismic events had decreased since the September / October peak and attributed that “to the fact that a more open pathway for magma to rise to the surface is now present.”
“High-frequency earthquakes continue to occur and show that the volcano is very active and capable of pressurization to cause the ongoing eruptions.”
However, since that report, the area has experienced a prolonged 3.5 magnitude earthquake yesterday and the swarms of smaller events have then returned overnight indicating a significant increase in activity.
Like the Australian airlines, Indonesia Air Asia is taking a very conservative view of flying and canceling flights.
Indonesia AirAsia says its “limiting operations to and from Denpasar Bali to daylight flights as ash clouds are not visible in the darkness making it impossible for our pilots to detect any shifts in the ash cloud at night due to unpredictable wind conditions in the area.”
“We decide on which flights to operate based on ash cloud and weather forecasts from two reputable international vendors, as well as notices and advisories issued by local authorities., said AirAsia Group Director of Flight Operations Adrian Jenkins.
“This is to ensure the safety of our guests and crew, and to minimise any possible service interruptions, such as a sudden flight cancellation or mid-air diversion, that could arise as a result of ash cloud movements.”
“Each airline will make its own assessment and for us, we want zero tolerance levels. Safety remains our top priority, and we will continue to reflect that in our operations,” added Mr. Jenkins.