Alert level raised at Mt.

Local authorities have increased the alert status of Dempo volcano in Pagar Alam, South Sumatra to the second-highest level following increased activity over the last week.

Slamet, head of the Dempo volcanic monitoring post, told tempointeraktif.com that more smoke and ash rain been occurring since Thursday.

He said the raised level had been reported to the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Relief agency in Bandung, West Java, and the local administration.

Dempo has had an alert status since January. The volcano has been having phreatic explosions, which occur when cold groundwater or surface water comes into contact with hot rock or magma, sending streams of eruption.

In January,  an explosion of water, mud and ashes sent hikers, who were celebrating New Year's Eve in the area, running, leaving their belongings behind. Ash fell up to 10 kilometers away from the volcano.

Mt. Dempo is a stratovolcano that rises 3,159 meters above the sea level. Seven craters mark its summit. A 400-meter-wide lake at the northwest end of the crater complex holds about 80 million cubic meters of water. (dre)

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