Social Navigation

Indonesia’s Merapi volcano is spewing hot clouds in another eruption


MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted Saturday with avalanches of burning gas clouds and lava, forcing authorities to halt tourism and mining activities on the slopes of the country’s most active volcano.

Merapi, on the populous island of Java, released clouds of hot ash and a mixture of rock, lava and gas that drifted up to 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) down the slopes. A column of hot clouds rose 100 meters into the sky, National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said.

The eruption during the day blocked the sun and covered several villages with falling ash. No casualties have been reported.

It was Merapi’s largest lava flow since authorities raised the alert level to the second highest level in November 2020. said Hanik Humaida, the head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center.

She said residents living on Merapi’s slopes were advised to stay 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) away from the crater mouth and be aware of the danger posed by lava.

Tourism and mining activities were halted.

The 2,968-meter mountain is located about 30 kilometers from Yogyakarta, an ancient center of Javanese culture and the seat of ancient royal dynasties. About a quarter of a million people live within 10 kilometers (6 mi) of the volcano.

Merapi is the most active of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia and has recently erupted repeatedly with clouds of lava and gas. The last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and displaced 20,000 villagers.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it lies along the “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of seismic fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.

An eruption in December 2021 of Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on the island of Java, killed 48 people and left 36 missing.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.