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Jakarta Post

Disaster agency urges vigilance after two more Merapi eruptions

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Mon, May 21, 2018   /   02:35 pm
Disaster agency urges vigilance after two more Merapi eruptions Mother nature: A resident hauling grass for his livestock travels by motorcycle on May 12 at the foot of Mount Merapi in Klangon, Cangkringan, Sleman, Yogyakarta. (Antara/Hendra Nurdiyansyah)

The Research and Technological Development for Geological Disaster Agency (BPPTKG) has called on residents living near Mount Merapi in Magelang, Central Java, to stay alert following a recent series of phreatic eruptions.

Two phreatic eruptions were recorded again at Mt. Merapi on Monday, causing ash fall in areas surrounding the 2,968-meter volcano.

“The phreatic eruptions occurred at 1:25 a.m. and 9:38 a.m.,” BPPTKG head Hanik Humaida told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

The agency recorded that the first eruption lasted around 19 minutes and spewed a 700 m smoke column into the sky. Meanwhile, the second eruption lasted only 6 minutes but released a 1,200 m smoke column.   

Hanik said the phreatic eruptions were caused when underground water came into contact with lava from Mt. Merapi, causing superheated vapor that broke through its dome.

“The alert level for Mt.Merapi remains normal,” said Hanik.

(Read also: Another phreatic eruption occurs at Mount Merapi)

An earlier phreatic eruption occurred on May 11, causing light ash fall in Yogyakarta and surrounding areas. With the latest eruptions today, Mt. Merapi has had nine phreatic eruptions since 2010.

In a discussion on Sunday, BPPTKG Mt. Merapi division head Agus Budi Santoso said the phreatic eruptions provided an opportunity for both the local administration and residents to prepare for a possible magmatic eruption.

“These phreatic eruptions are not a sign that a magmatic eruption will occur. What people must pay close attention to is the interval following Merapi’s massive eruption in 2010,” he said.  

Budi said Mt. Merapi had slept for eight years since it erupted in 2010. According to its historical records, Merapi erupted 11 years after the 1872 eruption and nine years after its major eruption in 1930.

Agus said the 2010 eruption was similar to the 1872 and 1930 eruptions.  (ebf)