An explosive nighttime volcano eruption on February 13 caused chaos on Indonesia's most populous island, covering cities with ash and killing three people.
Mount Kelud, long known for its powerful eruptions, blasted ash and debris 12 miles into the air. Authorities on the Indonesian island of Java, where the volcano is located, evacuated 100,000 people and closed six airports in the eastern part of the island.
According to Indonesia's disaster agency, the eruption could be heard up to 125 miles (200 kilometers) away.
"I thought doomsday was upon us," Ratno Pramono, a 35-year-old farmer from the nearby village of Sugihwaras, told the Associated Press. "Women and children were screaming and crying."
Mount Kelud's eruption sent volcanic ash over an area 310 miles (500 kilometers) in diameter, covering roughly a third of Java, from Malang to Yogyakarta in central Java.
A few inches of ash fell on Indonesia's second biggest city, Surabaya, a major industrial center about 87 miles (140 kilometers) north of Mount Kelud. About three million people live in Surabaya.
About two inches of ash also fell on Yogyakarta, another major city, where motorists were forced to switch their headlights on during the day because the dust was so thick.
A 60-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman died in the village of Pandansari, near the volcano, after up to eight inches of ash caused the roofs of their homes to collapse, says Indonesia's disaster agency. A 70-year-old man died in the same village after a wall collapsed under the weight of the ash.
Surabaya's international airport and smaller airports in Yogyakarta, Solo, Bandung, Semarang, and Cilacap closed due to loss of visibility and the threat that ash can pose to airplanes.
The closures evoked memories of spring 2010, when the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted, grounding airplanes in 18 countries and affecting more than 100,000 travelers.
All villages within six miles of Mount Kelud--representing some 100,000 people--were evacuated to temporary shelters, although some people had already started returning by Friday morning, reports the Associated Press.
Indonesia officials say they do not expect another major eruption from Mount Kelud any time soon.
Kelud is one of hundreds of volcanoes along the vast Pacific Rim of Fire, a region of intense geologic activity, thanks to the colliding of massive tectonic plates. A stratovolcano with a height of 5,675 feet (1,730 meters), Kelud is thought to have erupted more than 30 times since the year 1000.
An eruption at Mount Kelud killed an estimated 5,000 people on May 19, 1919, largely through hot mudflows called lahars, according to the Natural Disasters Association.
Eruptions in 1951, 1966, and 1990 killed a total of 250 people, according to the AP.
After the 1966 eruption, tunnels were built on the southwestern side of the crater to drain the volcano's crater lake, in order to reduce the risk of mudflows, the AP reported.
In February 1990, a powerful eruption at Mount Kelud released a column of ash and debris four miles (seven kilometers) high.
It also released pyroclastic flows, a mix of gas, ash, fine particles, and blocks of pumice that can be as large as basketballs, all at temperatures up to 1,830°F (1,000°C).
Health experts are recommending that people in the region avoid breathing in the volcanic ash. It can cause severe irritation to the lungs and can aggravate asthma or other respiratory conditions, they note.
Volcanic ash can also cause skin and eye irritations.