Mount Sinabung blows its top, sending lava and thick plumes of volcanic ash into the sky

Indonesian officials raised the alert status Friday to the highest level, urging residents who live nearby to evacuate. About 2,700 people were forced to flee their homes from the island located in the North Sumatra province. Government agencies have set up public shelters and kitchens to help those who have been evacuated. The 2,600-metre-high volcano had been inactive for three years before showing signs of life in September, 2013.

Photos of the eruption have been posed on Instagram from photography student Ahmad Zikri Mohamad Zuki. Pyroclastic flows (avalanche-like hot ash, rocks and gas) have been rushing down the sides of the mountain for the past week, Zuki told CNN. The photography student lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the Malaysian island of Borneo, shaking the Mount Kinabalu region around 7:15 a.m. local time Friday. At least 12 people have died. Of the eleven people confirmed to have died, nine have yet to be identified by authorities. Zuki has been documenting Mount Sinabung's activity since 2014, according to CNN. Following sharp increase volcanic activity, officials urged residents living within a radius of 7 km south and southeast of the mountain to evacuate Wednesday.

Mount Sinabung erupted in February 2014, killing 16 people. In August 2010, the volcano claimed the lives of two people and forced 30,000 to leave their homes. There are over 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Volcanic activity around the world

The Galapagos Islands' Wolf volcano erupted in late May, ending a silence that had lasted 33 years.

Japan's Mount Shindake also erupted in May. Divers managed to capture spectacular footage from waters nearby.

In April, Chile's Calbuco volcano sparked interesting weather effects including glowing shockwaves and volcanic lightning.