Residents defy warnings that Indonesian volcano about to erupt

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November 5, 2007 05:07

 
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A deadly Indonesian volcano is spewing clouds of white smoke as the temperature of its crater lake soars, but thousands of residents are defying warnings of a major eruption, choosing to tend crops and livestock on its slopes. The top scientist monitoring Mount Kelud said Sunday the temperature of its crater lake had reached 76 degrees Celsius (168 Fahrenheit) - a rise of more than 25 C (77 F) over the last 24 hours, indicating a blast could be imminent. The spike indicated magma within the volcano was close to breaking through to the surface, possibly sending a torrent of mud, ash and rock known as lahar down the mountain, said Surono, who uses a single name. Despite the threat, authorities said 25,000 people were ignoring evacuation orders and remained in the danger zone around Kelud in the heart of densely populated Java island. There was no attempt made to stop people from traveling inside a 10-kilometer (6-mile) zone around the peak that officials said is off-limits.

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