Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted on Sunday, unleashing searing gas clouds and lava avalanches down its slopes, prompting evacuations of thousands as other active volcanoes flared up across the country.
On the densely populated island of Java, Merapi expelled clouds of hot ash, rock, and lava, traveling up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) down its slopes, according to Agus Budi Santoso, the head of Indonesia’s Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center. A column of hot clouds shot 100 meters (about 109 yards) into the air, blanketing several villages with ash, but fortunately, no casualties were reported.
Merapi, being the most active among Indonesia’s 120 volcanoes, experienced its latest eruption after authorities raised its alert level to the second-highest in November 2020 due to increased activity detected by sensors. Residents living on the slopes were advised to maintain a distance of 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) from the crater’s mouth and remain vigilant regarding potential threats from flowing lava.
The previous eruption of Merapi on December 4 led to the tragic death of 11 climbers who were in the vicinity at the time of the incident. The recent eruption underscores the ongoing volcanic activity in the region, emphasizing the need for continued monitoring and measures to ensure the safety of the affected populations.