Indonesian island of Java: Mount Merapi volcano covers villages with ash

Status: 03/11/2023 1:10 p.m

The highly active Indonesian volcano Merapi has erupted. Several surrounding villages on the island of Java were covered by volcanic dust. According to estimates, the ash cloud sometimes rose three kilometers high.

The Mount Merapi volcano erupted on the Indonesian island of Java. It is considered the most active volcano in the country and one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Smoke and ash rose above the crater, and the surrounding villages were covered with fine volcanic dust.

A volcano spews lava and ash on the Indonesian island of Java

Tagesschau 12:00 p.m., 11.3.2023

According to estimates by the local authorities, the eruption caused an ash cloud about 3,000 meters high. An exclusion zone with a radius of seven kilometers has been established around the eruption site. According to the Indonesian civil protection authority, no injuries were initially reported.

Several villages affected by outbreak

Mount Merapi is located near the city of Yogyakarta, which is known for its cultural treasures. At least eight villages around the volcano are affected by the current eruption, according to the Merapi Observatory. In Turgo, a village just five kilometers from the volcano, some residents had brought themselves to safety, according to civil protection. However, there is no concrete evacuation order.

The second highest warning level has been in effect for Mount Merapi since November 2020. In March 2022, an eruption drove several local residents to flee. The last major eruption of Mount Merapi happened in 2010. At that time, more than 300 people died and around 280,000 residents had to leave their homes

What looks like snow at first glance is actually fine volcanic dust from Mount Merapi that covers the surrounding villages.

Image: via REUTERS

High seismic activity in Indonesia

The more than 2900 meter high Merapi is a so-called stratovolcano. When an eruption occurs, a dangerous mixture of dust, rock, lava and hot gas often rushes down the slopes at high speeds. There are nearly 130 active volcanoes throughout Indonesia. The island state lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where several tectonic plates meet and seismic activity is particularly high.

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