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VOLCANO ERUPTS, SENDS 25,000 VILLAGERS FLEEING

A volcano erupted Tuesday on Indonesia's Sumatra Island, spewing out clouds of ash and causing villagers on its slopes to flee their homes in panic, government volcanologists said.

The eruption of Mount Talang probably was triggered by a series of earthquakes that have rocked Sumatra in recent weeks, including one that killed more than 600 people March 28 on outlying islands, said Syamsul Rizal, a volcanologist.

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 second volcanologist.

Talang began rumbling shortly before dawn Tuesday and then spewed ash up to 1,640 feet into the air. About 25,000 people from five villages around the 9,186-foot volcano have been evacuated to villages further away, Hardiamaitalas said.

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