JAKARTA, Nov 3 (Reuters) Indonesia's Mount Kelud volcano appears to have erupted, a top official said today, based on seismographic signals, but is obscured from view by heavy cloud cover.
Saut Simatupang, an official at Indonesia's Centre for Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, told Reuters that the centre had detected continuous tremors in the volcano indicating that it had erupted, even though it was impossible to see any sign of ash or lava because of heavy cloud in the area.
The authorities have been monitoring the volcano in East Java for several weeks and raised its alert status to the highest level about two weeks ago as its activity increased and an eruption appeared imminent.
An estimated 350,000 people live within 10 km of the volcano, which has a crater lake and is about 90 km southwest of Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.
When it last erupted in 1990 at least 30 people were killed.
Indonesia has the highest number of active volcanoes of any country, sitting on a belt of intense seismic activity known as the ''Pacific Ring of Fire''.
REUTERS SKB ND1612