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Eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Merapi Volcano Sends Hot Clouds and Lava Spewing


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Indonesia’s Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted on Saturday, sending avalanches of lava and scorching clouds of gas blanketing villages near the crater, forcing authorities to halt tourism and mining activities on the mountain’s slopes.

Merapi, located on the densely populated island of Java, emitted clouds of hot ash, a mixture of rocks, lava and gases that traveled up to 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) down its slopes. Abdul Mahari, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said a column of hot clouds rose 100 meters into the air.

The eruption throughout the day blocked out the sun’s rays and blanketed several villages with falling ash. No more losses were recorded.

This was the largest lava flow at Merapi since authorities raised the alert level to the second-highest level in November 2020, said Hanik Hamida, head of the Yogyakarta Center for Volcanology and Geohazard Mitigation.

She said residents living on the slopes of Merapi were advised to stay 7 kilometers from the crater crater and be aware of the danger posed by lava.

Tourism and mining activities have ceased.

The 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) mountain lies about 30 kilometers from Yogyakarta, an ancient center of Javanese culture and the seat of centuries-old royal dynasties. About a quarter of a million people live within 10 kilometers of the volcano.

Merapi is the most active of Indonesia’s more than 120 active volcanoes, and has recently erupted repeatedly with clouds of lava and gas. The volcano’s last major eruption, in 2010, killed 347 people and displaced 20,000 villagers.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it lies along the “Ring of Fire,” a chain of seismic, horseshoe-shaped faults around the Pacific Ocean.

The eruption of Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on the island of Java, in December 2021, killed 48 people and left 36 missing.

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