Undersea volcano discovery
raises doubts

A geologist of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has cast doubt on the veracity of the reported discovery of a new giant volcano in the waters off Bengkulu province's west coast.

"A volcano cannot possibly emerge all of a sudden or without detectable early signs," Dr Iskandar Zulkarnaen, director of LIPI's Geological Research Center, said in Bengkulu Friday as quoted by Antara state news agency.

"Volcanoes are formed through a long process and cannot just arise instantly," he said commenting on the reported discovery of an undersea volcano that was 4,600 meters high with a diameter of 50 km, some 330 km west of Bengkulu city

He said his center had so far yet to receive an official report on the alleged volcano found by a group of Indonesian and foreign geologists.

If the volcano had really come into existence, it would certainly have been spotted by satellites circling around the earth.

"It would have been immediately detected by satellites but so far I have never received information about its existence in waters west of Benkulu," he said.

Citing an example to support his point, Zulkarnaen said the reemergence of Mount Krakatau in the Sunda Strait which erupted in 1883 had been a process of more than 50 years.

Meanwhile, Dadang Permana, head of the geological section of Bengkulu's Climatology and Geophysics Agency based in Kepahiang, said no volcanic tremors had ever been recorded happening at the location where the new volcano was reportedly found.

"To us, the reported find appears only to be a hypothesis which needs to be verified through our own studies," he said.

The new volcano was found by a group of researchers from

Indonesia's Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), LIPI, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, CGG Veritas and Institut de Physique Globe based in Paris.

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