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Indonesia has several volcanos smoldering at any given time, but another government volcanologist Gede Swantika said there are normally only five to 10 on the third-highest alert level, indicating an increase in seismic and other activity, and none at all at the second-highest, signifying an eruption is possible within two weeks. He said monitors noticed more volcanos were exhibiting seismic activity starting Sept. 2.

“We can say this is quite extraordinary, about 20 at the same time,” Swantika said. “We have to keep an eye on those mountains. … But I cannot say or predict which will erupt. What we can do is monitor patterns.”

Geologist Brent McInnes said as he hadn’t seen the raw data but would find such a rash of volcanic activity significant.

“If it’s true that there are over 20 volcanos demonstrating increased levels of seismic activity, then that is something we should pay attention to,” said McInnes, a professor at Australia’s Curtin University who has done extensive volcanic research in Indonesia.

He said such an increase could indicate “maybe there is a major plate restructuring going on, and that would be significant.”

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Associated Press writers Achmad Ibrahim in the Mentawai islands and Niniek Karmini, Irwan Firdaus, Ali Kotarumalos and Kristen Gelineau in Jakarta contributed to this report.