Indonesia’s most volatile volcano was erupting again Saturday, releasing plumes of ash high into the air and sending streams of lava and debris down its slopes. No casualties were reported.
An avalanche of rocks spilled down Mount Merapi’s slopes before dawn and clouds of hot ash shot 200 metres into the air as the mountain groaned and rumbled, said Hanik Humaida, the head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center.
The volcano unleashed hot clouds of ash at least eight times since the morning as well as a series of pyroclastic flows — a mixture of rock, debris, lava and gasses — that had reached nearly 2 kilometres down its slopes, Humaida said.
The 2,968-metre high volcano is on densely populated Java island near the ancient city of Yogyakarta. It is the most active of dozens of Indonesian volcanoes and has repeatedly erupted recently.
Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre has advised villagers living on Merapi’s slopes to stay 5 kilometres from its crater and be aware of the peril of lava.
Merapi’s last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people.
Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped area along the edge of the ocean that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.