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Moutaintop Blast Sparks Indian Eruption Fears August 7, 2009
Map of India
The 700 residents of Rangrik are worried the blast and gushing water might lead to a larger disaster.
A mysterious geologic explosion on July 27 in far northern India, followed by a flow of gushing water down the slopes and into people’s homes, had local residents worried that a volcanic eruption was in progress.

After responding to the desperate appeals for help from residents of Rangrik, a tiny Himachal Pradesh hamlet at about 13,000 feet in elevation, regional revenue officer Prem Singh made a four-hour climb to the location of the blast.

“We found a crater 300 square meters wide and 20 feet deep,’’ Sing told The Times of India.

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) said it was unsure exactly what caused the crater, but assured local villagers that volcanic activity in the country is confined to a few islands of the Bay of Bengal.

“There can be several reasons for such a mountain explosion, including presence of hydro-thermal gases and sulphur,” GSI geologist Pardeep Singh told the newspaper.

Some who witnessed the blast described a cloud of dust over the mountaintop followed by bright sparks caused by rolling boulders colliding with one another.

Some mistook those sparks in the night for a flow of lava, prompting the fears of a volcanic eruption.

Map: Earthweek