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What it looks like when a volcano erupts 77 times in a single day

Mount Sinabung, located on Indonesia’s Sumatra island, erupted nearly 80 times over the weekend, displacing thousands of people and  engulfing an area more than three miles from the mountain’s peak in life-threatening clouds of hot ash and gas. The evacuation zone originally covered a five kilometer (3.1 mile) radius, but has been stretched to seven kilometers, and could be extended further.

Indonesia is home to more active volcanoes (nearly 130) than any other country on earth. About 20,000 people have already been evacuated due to the country’s latest volcanic eruption, a number which could easily wind up being far higher.

With fiery smoke still billowing from the mountain’s peak, lava streaming down its sides, and entire towns covered in ash, the scene on Sumatra is frightening.

Indonesia volcano eruption
Here, hot lava is seen running down Mount Sinabung from a lava dome on Jan. 5. Getty Images/Ulet Ifansasti
Indonesia volcano eruption
A zoomed out look shows the lava making its way well down the mountain. Reuters/Roni Bintang
Indonesia volcano eruption
Hot ash reached as high as 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) in the air over the weekend. Getty Images/Ulet Ifansasti
Indonesia volcano eruption
Entire fields have been engulfed in potentially deadly smoke. Getty Images/Ulet Ifansasti
Indonesia volcano eruption
Dozens of villages have been displaced. AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara
Indonesia volcano eruption
That has left some residents no choice but to look on from afar. AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara
Indonesia volcano eruption
The mess the volcano has left in its wake spans miles of ash-covered roads, villages, and farmland. Reuters/YT Haryono
Indonesia volcano eruption
Much land has also been left scorched by hot ash, smoke, and lava. Getty Images/Ulet Ifansasti
Indonesia volcano eruption
Little in the surrounding land has been left untouched. AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara
Indonesia volcano eruption
It’s likely the 20,000 people that have already been displaced will be joined by others, as the volcanic activity continues on mount Sinabung. AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

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