Sinabung volcano unleashes hot ash a mile into the air on Indonesian island


Eruption: A farmer continues to tend to his field on the Indonesian island of Sumatra as Mount Sinabung erupts violently in the background
A volcanic eruption in western Indonesia has unleashed hot ash over a mile into the air and threatens the lives of thousands in nearby villages.

Mount Sinabung, which is located on the island of Sumatra, had been dormant for over 400 years before erupting in August 2010 when it killed at least two and made over 30,000 homeless.

Its status was raised to the highest alert level on June 2 because of the growing size of its 'lava dome', a magma-filled mound which grows inside the volcano before erupting violently.


Explosion: Stunning images have captured the 2,460m-high volcano unleashing hot ash and gas over a mile into the air


Victims: Nearly 3,000 people in nearby villages - their faces covered in the volcano's ash - have been forced to leave their homes because of the eruption
Over 2,700 people have been evacuated from their homes in villages as far as four miles away but no injuries have yet been reported - even though hot ash is falling a staggering two miles from the source of the eruption.

As many as 11 avalanches of hot ash have been recorded during this eruption and volcanologists have warned smoldering rocks mixed with heated gases could tumbled down the 2,460m-high mountain at any time.

An eruption in February last year left at least 16 people dead and in October the same year, it spewed out rivers of molten lava and giant plumes of ash for four days.

Mount Sinabung is among about 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia known as the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' which are prone to erupt because of their location between tectonic plates.

Even though Indonesia's volcanoes erupt sporadically and violently, farmers remain working on its deadly slopes because the ground there is so fertile.


Escape: Anyone living within 4.4 miles of the volcano has been evacuated (pictured) but fortunately no casualties have so far been recorded