- Associated Press - Thursday, March 7, 2013

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (AP) - Indonesia scientists say they are closely monitoring a smoking volcano on Java island, urging villagers and tourists to stay off the mountain’s slope.

Government volcanologist Hendra Gunawan said Thursday that Mount Tangkuban Perahu in West Java province shot up smoke and ash nearly 500 meters (1,640 feet) into the air since Monday, and was placed at the second-highest alert level.

It does not send debris or lava far down its slopes and nearby towns and villages were in no danger, but authorities warned tourists off limit its danger zone of 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the crater, citing a build up of poison gas inside the peaks.

The 2,084 meter (6,837 feet)-high mountain is one of Java’s most popular tourist attractions where people can hike to the edge of the crater to view boiling mud up close. It last erupted in 1983.

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