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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007, 20:09 GMT
Indonesia volcano 'did not erupt'
The peak of Mount Kelud seen from Blitar village, East Java, 16th Oct
Mount Kelud last erupted in 1990, killing more than 30 people
Indonesia's Mount Kelud volcano has not erupted, government scientists have said, contradicting an earlier statement that it had.

Monitoring instruments had indicated an eruption, but it could not be visually confirmed because of heavy cloud cover.

Escalating tremors had prompted scientists monitoring the volcano near the crater to leave the mountain.

The scientists later returned to their posts to find no eruption actually occurred and their equipment undamaged.

"There was no eruption," said Surono, a senior government volcanologist.

"If there had been an eruption, our equipment near the crater would have been damaged."

High alert

An estimated 350,000 people live within 10km (6 miles) of the volcano on the island of Java, about 90km (55 miles) south-west of the city of Surabaya.

Indonesia map
The volcano last erupted in 1990, killing dozens of people.

The authorities have been monitoring the peak in East Java for several weeks and raised its alert status to the highest level about two weeks ago as its activity increased.

Armed police last month evacuated more than 100,000 people from the slopes of Mount Kelud - but many later returned to their villages, while others refused to leave.

In 1919 about 5,000 people died when the volcano erupted, ejecting scalding water from its crater lake and destroying hundreds of villages.

Indonesia, part of the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, is frequently shaken by earth tremors and volcanoes.

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