updated 7/28/2006 9:35:17 AM ET 2006-07-28T13:35:17

A volcano on an eastern Indonesian island started spewing lava and hot clouds, forcing the evacuation of thousands of villagers, officials said Friday.

Lava and hot ash rumbled 750 yards down Mount Karangetang’s slopes Thursday, its second eruption since July 17, said Saut Simatupang, chief researcher at the government’s volcanology agency.

Nearly 4,000 people were evacuated from five villages, said Iskandar Gobel, a North Sulawesi provincial official, and police said more would likely leave in coming days. Nobody was hurt.

Mount Karangetang, one of the country’s most active mountains, has been rumbling for weeks. Six villagers were killed when Karangetang erupted in 1992.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

The 5,850-foot Karangetang is on Siau, part of the Sulawesi island chain, which has not been affected by a recent string of natural disasters.

An earthquake off Java island triggered a tsunami earlier this month that left 600 people dead, and a temblor on the same island in May killed 5,800. Mount Merapi, also on Java, has seen heightened activity in recent months.

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