Archipelago

Mt Merapi enters preparation
phase before eruption:
Expert

The Mt. Merapi volcano restarted its inflation process immediately after the 2010 eruption and has entered its preparation stage of a forthcoming eruption, a Japanese researcher has said.

Masako Iguchi, a researcher from the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University, said Tuesday that the global positioning system (GPS) installed on three Indonesian volcanoes, namely Guntur, Sinabung and Merapi, to detect their ground deformations, had signaled the inflation of Mt. Merapi.

Before the 2010 eruption, he said, Merapi had erupted in 2001 and 2006. This showed that there were some periods in which the volcano had no deformation until it inflated and the next eruption occurred on Oct. 26, 2010.

“But in this latest case, we detected that after its 2010 eruption, Merapi inflated again very quickly. This means that Merapi is a very active volcano,” Iguchi said during a meeting to present the team’s project report titled “Multi-Disciplinary Hazard Reduction from Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Indonesia”.

The three-year project, which is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology (JST) institute, will end later this year. The project was led by Hery Harjono, an earthquake researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

Iguchi said that during the observation, a joint team of experts from Indonesia and Japan found drastic changes in the chemistry of deposits around Merapi had occurred between October and November 2011.

“More efforts are needed to develop eruption scenarios, volcano monitoring, and countermeasures to mitigate a possible volcanic disaster,” said Iguchi.

Tomoyuki Tada, a JICA senior representative, said the “Multi-Disciplinary Hazard Reduction from Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Indonesia” project marked the first collaboration between the JICA and JST in Indonesia.

“This is a very important project as Indonesia and Japan are both well-known countries for natural disasters,” he said.

During the project, which began in 2009, three significant natural disasters occurred both in Indonesia and Japan, namely the Merapi eruption, the tsunami on Mentawai Island and the earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan.

“When those disasters struck, this project was able to utilize its network of researchers, which contributed to our cooperation for disaster management and responses to disasters,” said Tada.

Citing one example, he said the JICA sent a Japanese disaster rescue team to Indonesia follwing the Merapi eruption and Mentawai tsunami; while, after the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami, workshops and seminars were held in Japan in collaboration with this project’s network of researchers. (nvn)

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