Indonesia volcano may erupt explosively or menace for weeks

Experts say a suddenly active volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali is more likely to erupt than not.

But because every volcano has its own unique characteristics, scientists can’t predict when that will be with total certainty. It could erupt suddenly or continue for weeks at its current menacing level of seismic activity.

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WHAT’S LED TO ERUPTION WARNINGS?

The slow movement of the tectonic plates that make up the planet’s surface carries massive quantities of rock deep into the earth, where they melt. As this molten magma rises, pressure increases inside a sealed chamber beneath the mountain until it explodes.

The type of magma that feeds Mount Agung traps more gas, which tends to produce larger eruptions. It’s the rising volume of magma that is causing hundreds of tremors being recorded daily around the mountain.

“The volcano is bulging, causing a large number of small cracks to form and the earth to vibrate,” said David Boutelier, a geologist and expert on plate tectonics at Australia’s University of Newcastle.

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HOW SOON COULD IT ERUPT?

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