Environment Environmental disasters Volcanic eruptions
Video: fleeing the eruption of Merapi volcano on the island of Java
Molten rock, lava and gas traveled up to 7 kilometers along its slopes, a column of hot steam rose up to 100 meters and obscured the sunlight throughout the day.
Mount Merapi in Indonesia exploded Saturday with avalanches of glowing gas clouds and lava, forcing authorities to halt tourism and mining activities on the slopes of the country's most active volcano. Molten rock, lava and gas that traveled up to 7 kilometers along its slopes. "A column of hot steam rose 100 meters into the air," said National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Abdul Muhari. The cloud caused by the eruption obscured the sunlight throughout the day and covered several villages with falling ash. No casualties were reported. "It was the largest Merapi lava flow since authorities raised the alert level to the second highest in November 2020," said Hanik Humaida, head of the Yogyakarta Geological Risk Mitigation and Volcanology Center. He also reported that residents living on the slopes of Merapi were advised to stay 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) away from the crater mouth and were warned of the danger posed by lava. Tourism and mining activities have been stopped. The 2,968-meter mountain is located about 30 kilometers from Yogyakarta, an ancient center of Javanese culture and home to royal dynasties dating back centuries. About a quarter of a million people live within 10 kilometers of the volcano. Merapi is the most active of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia and has repeatedly erupted with clouds of lava and gas. Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and displaced 20,000 inhabitants. Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it lies along the "Ring of Fire," a series of horseshoe-shaped seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean. An eruption in December 2021 of Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on the island of Java, left 48 people dead and 36 missing.