Updated Dec 4, 2021 - World

Semeru volcano eruption kills at least one, injures dozens

Evacuees take shelter at the local mosque of Sumber Wuluh village, in Lumajang, on December 5, 2021, after the eruption of Semeru volcano.

Evacuees take shelter at the local mosque of Sumber Wuluh village, in Lumajang, on Dec. 5, after the eruption of the Semeru volcano. Photo: Juni Kriswanto/AFP via Getty Images

A large eruption occurred at Mount Semeru in Indonesia on Saturday, killing at least one and injuring dozens more as a huge ash cloud descended over the region, Reuters reports.

Driving the news: The eruption occurred at around 4:25 p.m. local time and produced "a large pyroclastic flow (hot avalanche of ash and rock particles) that traveled down the southern slopes, as well as producing an ash column that rose to estimated 40,000 ft. altitude," according to Volcano Discovery.

  • At least 41 people suffered burn injuries from the eruption, which occurred on the Indonesian island of Java, the Deputy Chief of Lumajang district, Indah Masdar, said, per Reuters.
  • The clouds of smoke and ash have also reportedly trapped at least 10 people in buildings.

Thought bubble from Axios' Andrew Freedman: Volcanic eruptions that inject large amounts of sulfate aerosols — tiny particles that help reflect some incoming sunlight — can actually help cool the planet for a short period of time.

  • This is especially true for volcanoes located in the tropics, studies have shown. However, it’s far too early to tell if Mt. Semuru’s latest explosive eruption will be significant enough to temporarily alter the pace of human-caused global warming, as the Philippines’ Mt. Pinatubo did in 1991.

What they're saying: "We're in big distress," Indah said, adding, "it's harrowing, their families are all crying."

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