More than 1,200 people today remain evacuated from a 1.9-mile containment zone around Mount Egon in Kupang, eastern Indonesia, after toxic gas and volcanic ash erupted yesterday.
It was before officials in Russia had to cancel flights near the Zhupanovsky volcano on Russia's eastern coast after it spewed lava FIVE MILES into the air, also yesterday.
Although the two volcanoes are separated by around 3,000 miles, they are on interconnected tectonic plates – sparking fears of a major seismic shift, more volcanic activity and even earthquakes and tsunamis, due to recent activity.
The Russian volcano is on the Phillippine Plate which joins the Java Trench, which Mount Egon lies close to.
The region is one of the most volcanic parts of the globe.
Indonesian officials are on standby to extend the evacuation area if necessary if the volcanic and seismic activity increases.
The area is known to be volatile and in the past 24 hours, just 400 miles north of Mount Egon, three earthquakes ranging from magnitude 4.1 to 4.7 struck on other Indonesian islands.
Within a 400 mile radius of Mount Egon there are also 25 other volcanoes and five of them are said to be currently erupting, while there are ten other eruption warnings in place
The Russian explosion affected local air traffic, but the huge ash cloud is also drifting east over the Pacific Ocean so the impact on flights could be much wider.
There are fears seismic activity is also growing in the area around the Zhupanovsky volcano.
There were two small earthquakes before Tuesday's big eruption and overnight another tow magnitude 1 shallow tremors occurred.
There are six other active volcanoes alomg a 200-mile portion of the coastline of the same Russian peninsula.
Three of these are currently classed as erupting, one has an eruption warning in place and the two others are experiencing some "unrest".
In the last 24 hours, in an area around 1,200 miles away, but on the same Phillippine Plate, in Japan and surrounding seas there were SIX earthquakes measuring from magnitude 4.1 to 4.8.
In Asia, officials distributed thousands of gas masks to villagers around the volcano on eastern Flores island amid fears of a major eruption as the choking fumes worsened.
All residents living within the containment zone have been ordered to evacuate, while roads bringing traffic in have been closed.
Mount Egon is considered a very active volcano and is in the top ten of the potentially deadliest in the event of a major eruption.
Three U.S. citizens who disappeared last week in Baghdad were kidnapped and are being held by an Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia, two Iraqi intelligence and two U.S. government sources said on Tuesday.
Unknown gunmen seized the three on Friday from a private residence in the southeastern Dora district of Baghdad, Iraqi officials say. They are the first Americans to be abducted in Iraq since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.
The U.S. sources said Washington had no reason to believe Tehran was involved in the kidnapping and did not believe the trio were being held in Iran, which borders Iraq.
“They were abducted because they are Americans, not for personal or financial reasons,” one of the Iraqi sources in Baghdad said.
The three men are employed by a small company that is doing work for General Dynamics Corp (GD.N), under a larger contract with the U.S. Army, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The Iraqi government has struggled to rein in the Shi’ite militias, many of which fought the U.S. military following the 2003 invasion and have previously been accused of killing and abducting American nationals.
The State Department said on Sunday it was working with Iraqi authorities to locate Americans reported missing, without confirming they had been kidnapped.
Asked about the kidnapping at the daily U.S. State Department news briefing on Tuesday, spokesman John Kirby said: “The picture is becoming a little bit more clear in terms of what might have happened.” He provided no details.
Kirby declined to say whether Secretary of State John Kerry had contacted Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about the kidnapping.
Hostility between Tehran and Washington has eased in recent months with the lifting of crippling economic sanctions against Iran in return for compliance with a deal to curb its nuclear ambitions and a recent prisoner swap.
However, the United States imposed sanctions on 11 companies and individuals on Sunday for supplying Iran’s ballistic missile program.
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