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Indonesia’s Merapi volcano spews hot clouds in new eruption


Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted with avalanches of hot gas and lava clouds on Saturday, forcing authorities to suspend tourism and mining activities on the slopes of the country’s most active volcano.

Merapi, on the densely populated island of Java, unleashed clouds of hot ash and a mix of rock, lava and gas that traveled up to 7 km down its slopes. A column of hot clouds rose 100 meters into the air, National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Abdul Muhari said.

The eruption throughout the day blocked out the sun and blanketed several villages in ashfall. No casualties were reported.

It was the largest lava flow from Merapi since authorities raised the alert level to the second-highest level in November 2020, said Hanik Humaida, director of the Center for Volcanology and Risk Mitigation. geology of Yogyakarta.

She said residents living on the slopes of Merapi were advised to stay 7 km from the mouth of the crater and to be aware of the danger posed by the lava.

Tourism and mining activities have been interrupted.

The 9,737-foot mountain is about 18 miles from Yogyakarta, an ancient center of Javanese culture and the seat of royal dynasties dating back centuries. About a quarter of a million people live within 6 miles of the volcano.

Merapi is the most active of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia and has recently erupted several times with clouds of lava and gas. Its 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 as it lies along the ‘Ring of Fire’, a series of iron-like seismic fault lines riding around the Pacific Ocean.

A December 2021 eruption of Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on the island of Java, left 48 dead and 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.