Yogyakarta (Java) fears an explosive eruption of Merapi volcano

Merapi in 1930

Merapi volcano in 1930, Image via Wikipedia

Excerpt of an article in the Jakarta Globe

Lava from Mount Merapi in Central Java began flowing down the Gendol River over the weekend, signaling an eruption could be imminent, a geologist said on Sunday.

The volcano, one of the world’s most active, last erupted in June 2006 shortly after the Yogyakarta earthquake, when a pyroclastic flow, or a fast-moving cloud of superheated gas, ran down its slopes and killed two people.
Pyroclastic flows can be devastating for goods and all living creatures near the eruption crater.

But Surono, head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency (PVMBG), said the distension of the mountain’s slopes was much more rapid this time around, indicating a higher-pressure build-up of gas and hence a much more explosive eruption.

“We believe Merapi will erupt explosively, as it did in 1930, and not just spew gas like in 2006,” he said.

“However, that scenario is only a guess. No one really knows when Merapi will erupt and how much volcanic material it will spew out.”

The eruption in 1930 wiped out 13 villages on the slopes of the mountain, killing around 1,400 people.

Merapi volcano lies the backyard of Jogjakarta, one of Indonesia’s most important cities.
Armand Vervaeck, host of this blog,  has climbed Merapi volcano a couple of years ago and witnessed the crater rumble from first hand. A truly fascinating volcano.


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