A volcano gushing towering columns of ash closed the airport on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali for a second day Tuesday, disrupting travel for tens of thousands, as authorities renewed their warnings for 100,000 villagers to evacuate. Mount Agung has been hurling clouds of white and dark gray ash about 9,800 feet above its cone since the weekend, and lava is welling in the crater, sometimes reflected as an orange-red glow in the ash plumes. Its explosions can be heard more than 7 miles away. The local airport authority said Tuesday that closure for another 24 hours was required for safety reasons, the AP reports. Agung's last major eruption in 1963 killed about 1,100 people.
A volcanologist at Ohio's Denison University says Agung's 1963 eruption was big enough to cool the Earth slightly, but it's unclear whether this time it will have a similar major eruption or simmer for a prolonged period. "A lot of what will happen depends on the magma underneath and what it is doing now," he says. The closure of the airport has stranded tens of thousands of travelers, affecting tourists already on Bali and people who were ready to fly to the island from abroad or within Indonesia. An airport spokesman says more than 440 inward and outward flights were canceled Tuesday and about 59,500 travelers were affected, similar numbers to Monday.
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