Fri, 12 Aug 1994

Wimpy rules out powerful eruption

DENPASAR, Bali: A volcanologist has poured cold water on the suggestion that Mt. Batur in Bali will erupt violently soon, even though it has seen increased activity lately.

"The probability that there will be a big and destructive eruption is small," Wimpy S. Tjetjep of the Directorate of Volcanology, said as quoted by the Antara news agency.

"The pressure of sulfur gas thrown up by the volcano is relatively low," he said.

Wimpy was sent to Bali to monitor Mt. Batur, which has been spewing ash and thick smokes since the weekend.

Local officials earlier warned residents near the volcano to prepare for the likelihood of a major eruption.

By Tuesday, the local monitoring station has recorded more than 600 minor eruptions. (rms)