More than 20,000 people have been evacuated from the slopes of a volcano in Sumatra, the Indonesian island whose Aceh region was flattened by the devastating tsunami last December.
More recently, on March 28, an earthquake killed more than 600 people on an outlying Sumatran island.
The volcano erupted Tuesday, spewing clouds of ash and causing villagers on its slopes to flee their homes in panic, government volcanologists said. Mount Talang's eruption was likely triggered by a series of earthquakes that have rocked Sumatra in recent weeks, said Syamsul Rizal.
Despite the eruption, the volcano posed no immediate threat to people living nearby, and the government had not officially urged them to evacuate their homes, said Taufan Hardiamaitalas, a also a volcanologist.
Talang began rumbling shortly before dawn Tuesday, and then spewed out ash up to 1,640 feet into the air. About 1,000 people living on the mountain's slopes left their homes and moved to villages farther from the 9,000-foot volcano, Hardiamaitalas said. Talang is about 560 miles northwest of Jakarta.
The mountain is among at least 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago nation.
The country is part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire'' -- a series of volcanoes and fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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