VOA - Friday 15th September, 2017
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Indonesia has raised the alert level for the Mount Agung volcano on the tourist island of Bali following an increase in volcanic and tectonic activity.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Thursday that the alert has been raised from normal to vigilance.
The country's geological agency recommends villagers and visitors stay further than 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the mountain's crater.
The disaster agency said the volcano last erupted in March 1963, killing some 1,100 people.
It warned against panic, saying there would be further increases in volcanic activity and changes to the alert level before an eruption.
Bali's highest and most revered mountain, Gunung Agung is an imposing peak seen from most of south and east Bali, although it's often obscured by cloud and mist. Many sources say it's 3142m high, but some say it lost its summit in the 1963 eruption. The summit is an oval crater, about 700m across, with its highest point on the western edge above Besakih.
As it's the spiritual centre of Bali, traditional houses are laid out on an axis in line with Agung and many locals always know where they are in relation to the peak, which is thought to house ancestral spirits.
Climbing the mountain takes you through verdant forest in the clouds and rewards with sweeping (dawn) views. More than 3000 tourists make the ascent each year