Mount Agung in Bali erupts

Bali Island’s volcano erupts after over 50 years

Mount Agung is among the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a vast archipelagic country with 17,500 islands.

They advise people to stay out of the exclusion zone, which remains unchanged, and extends 7.5km from the volcano.

Mount Agung's alert status was lowered to the second-highest warning level last month after volcanic activity slowed.

Indonesia is home to around 130 volcanoes due to its position on the "Ring of Fire", a belt of tectonic plate boundaries circling the Pacific Ocean where frequent seismic activity occurs In 2010 Mount Merapi - considered one of the most active and unsafe volcanoes in the world - erupted, killing some more than 300 people and forcing 280,000 people to flee.

The plume of ash has yet to affect air traffic, as Bali's worldwide airport remained open and flights were operating as scheduled.

Locals and tourists are being urged to remain calm and not to panic.

The volcano's alert level was still kept at level 3 yesterday, as the authorities said there had not been any increase in seismic activity.

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More than 140,000 people had fled their homes in recent months before Mount Agung began belching smoke 700m above its summit on Tuesday.

More than 133,000 people have been living in shelters for more than a month in fear of an eruption, even though more than half of the refugees actually live outside the danger zone.

"Phreatic means that the water in the crater surface collected because of heavy rain recently combined with ascending magma", Mr Mertasaya said, according to the ABC. That evacuation zone should remain clear because the ash clouds are heading in that direction.

"At this point this is very, very small", tweeted New Zealand volcanologist Dr Janine Krippner.

All airlines said on Wednesday morning flights in and out of Bali are operating as scheduled, but Jetstar Airways claims that could change if the smoke continues to billow.

"Time to make sure you are prepared and keep an eye on official Agung information".

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