Gili Air is located along the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire – an area that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to plate tectonics. Approximately 90% of earthquakes occur along the parts of the Pacific Ocean basin that forms the Ring of Fire, and Indonesia is home to approximately 70 active volcanoes.

What is an active volcano?

Before you reassess your plans to visit our little island paradise, it is important to note that an active volcano is a volcano that has had at least one eruption in the past 10,000 years. Active volcanoes are classified as either being dormant (this is a volcano that is not erupting, but is expected to erupt again at some point) or erupting.

Late in 2017 and earlier in 2018, Indonesia experienced a series of erupting volcanoes, the most famous probably being Mount Agung in Bali.

While living along the Ring of Fire does entail being aware of the dangers that volcanoes and the resulting earthquakes may pose, Grand Sunset Gili Air has contingency measures in place for these situations. There aren’t any active volcanoes on Gili Air, and Mount Rinjani in Lombok and Mount Agung and Mount Batur in Bali are our closest rumbling mountains.

In the case of an eruption on a volcano close to Gili Air, tourists are advised to take the following measures.

When a volcano erupts:

  • Take out contact lenses and wear glasses or goggles.
  • Stay inside as much as you can.
  • Seal all gaps in your home or room where air can come through.
  • Keep all skin covered.
  • Keep your nose and mouth covered with a facemask or cloth.
  • Wipe down any ash with a damp cloth.

In the case of an earthquake:

  • Seek shelter under a strong structure, or if you can’t find one, cover your head with your hands.
  • Stay away from the beach.
  • Get to higher ground as soon as the earthquake has passed.

The Gilis have never experienced a tsunami, but should a tsunami warning be released:

  • Get to higher ground or get to the top of the tallest building or tree.
  • Move as far inland as is possible.
  • Stay where you are after the first wave, as another may still come.

Even if the precautions seem daunting, vacationing on Gili Air is still very much an island breakaway without significant risk. Systems installed in the Indian Ocean constantly monitor seismic activity, and even when Mount Agung erupted, it was mostly business as usual on the Gilis, with fastboats operating as they normally do until 11am in the morning. With that being said, Mount Agung’s eruption did make for some truly spectacular views.