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Merapi spews lava and gas in large eruption YOGYAKARTA - Indonesia's Mount Merapi hurled lava and gas clouds down its slopes on Thursday in the volcano's largest eruption since it began heating up two months ago, officials and local media reports said. The eruption occurred at about 9:05 a.m. (02:05 GMT), reaching a record distance of five kilometres in the direction of the Gendol River, burning down part of the Kaliadem forest area in the district of Sleman, the state-run news agency, Antara, reported.

Local residents normally graze their livestock each morning near the forest area that was burned, but no casualties were reported. 'It was the biggest (eruption) so far,' Heri, a volcanologist from the nearby monitoring centre, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. 'But it's difficult to predict whether Merapi will have a major eruption in the near future.'

Thousands of residents living around Mount Merapi continued to be evacuated this week with the volcano's latest signs that an eruption was imminent. Some 3,000 residents were evacuated from Magelang district Wednesday, bringing the number of total evacuees to at least 11,000, most of whom were being moved for the second time after fleeing weeks ago before the volcano first erupted.

The fact that the volcano's activity fluctuates so rapidly has frustrated villagers, many of whom have either refused to leave or returned to their homes after the first large-scale eruption last month. While authorities were stepping up evacuation efforts in some areas this week, residents from other areas were returning to their homes on the slopes of the volcano, despite warnings from scientists that the threat of a major eruption remains high.

Merapi's activity increased following the May 27 earthquake which devastated large parts south and east of Yogyakarta, killing 5,782 people, and some experts said it's close to a big eruption. But the governor of Yogyakarta province and the top Javanese royal, Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, said there was no reason for alarm. 'There's nothing to worry about,' he told reporters. 'There have been eruptions, but so far from the report I received this morning the conditions remain as of yesterday,' Hamengkubuwono said. He said hot clouds of gas and lava from Merapi are 'still far away from residential areas.'

Other experts say Merapi's eruption phase starts with the formation of domes from outpouring lava. If the lava dome collapses, hot clouds will begin cascading down the mountain slopes. 'The most dangerous phase is after the destruction of the large lava dome,' Triyani, another scientist at the nearby monitoring centre, told dpa. 'There are still so many old lava domes sitting up there.'

19 May 2006: Hot lava flows from Mount Merapi's slope in this picture taken from Tunggularum, Girikerto, Sleman, near Yogyakarta, early today. The 3,000-meter volcano which has been shooting out lava and deadly clouds of hot ash and debris for several weeks, was put on high alert last weekend and has since been rocked by a series of eruptions.
19 May 2006: Hot lava flows from Mount Merapi's slope in this picture taken from Tunggularum, Girikerto, Sleman, near Yogyakarta, early today. The 3,000-meter volcano which has been shooting out lava and deadly clouds of hot ash and debris for several weeks, was put on high alert last weekend and has since been rocked by a series of eruptions.



Link to related event Related event:
Eruptive Mount Merapi

Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes') Related blog entries (category 'Volcanoes'):
07 June 2006 · 11,000 evacuated as Mount Merapi volcano spews ash and lava
06 June 2006 · Merapi volcano lava dome raises eruption concerns
04 June 2006 · Mount Merapi volcano continuing spewing lava
03 June 2006 · Mount Merapi becomes more active
26 May 2006 · Tourist sites around Mount Merapi reopen


Posted in Volcanoes @ 08 June 2006 20:56 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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