Mount Sinabung eruption: Volcanic blast reshaped summit of the mountain

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Sixteen people died when it erupted in 2014, and seven more lost their lives in 2016.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's Disaster Agency, said the eruption began on Monday morning, accompanied by multiple earthquakes and showering surrounding villages with small rocks.

Officials have distributed face masks and urged local residents to stay indoors to avoid respiratory problems, said local disaster mitigation agency official Nata Nail Perangin-angin.

The regional volcanic ash advisory centre in Darwin, Australia, has issued a "red notice" - the highest warning - to airline companies.

It is reported that the column of ash from the volcano rose to a height of 5 thousand metres and a spread of 4.9 thousand meters to the South. These areas have been off-limits due to the frequent volcanic activity.

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"The ash has not reached Medan city and the airport", he said, referring to Kualanamu global Airport in North Sumatra province.

Thick volcanic ash spews into the air from Mount Sinabung volcano in Karo, North Sumatra, on February 19, 2018.

Mr Sembiring, a resident living in the Karo district near the volcano, described the sound of the eruption as thunderous and said it left the mountainside covered in ash.

According to the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program, the 8,000-foot volcano is thought to have erupted in 1881 as well as 1912, followed by explosive eruptions in 2010 and more recent activity beginning in 2013, reported Mashable. The last eruption of the volcano was on Jan 27.