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Indonesia Raises Semeru Volcano Alert, Fearing New Eruption

Mount Semeru spews thick smoke in Lumajang on Dec. 16.

Mount Semeru spews thick smoke in Lumajang on Dec. 16.

Source: AFP/Getty Images

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Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) -- Indonesian authorities raised the alert level for the highest volcano on Java island, saying Mount Semeru could blow up again after a sudden eruption earlier this month left 48 people dead and 36 missing in villages that were buried in layers of mud.

Indonesia’s geological agency said Saturday it picked up increasing activity that could trigger an avalanche of lava and searing gas, similar to the Dec. 4 eruption, which was preceded by heavy monsoon rains that partially collapsed a lava dome on the 3,676-meter (12,060-foot) mountain.