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Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — February 2011

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 36, no. 1 (February 2011)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Merapi (Indonesia) Eruption started 26 October 2010; 386 deaths, more than 300,000 evacuated

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Merapi (Indonesia). In: Wunderman, R. (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 36:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN201102-263250.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Merapi

Indonesia

7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


This report represents a preliminary discussion of the deadly eruption at Merapi that started on 26 October 2010. That eruption included weeks of instability that generated pyroclastic (block-and-ash) flows, which became particularly vigorous and numerous in early November, with at least one surge reportedly traveling along the Gendol drainage to 15-16 km from the summit dome. Of particular note from a hazards perspective, the path of some of these deposits differed at times from those of the recent past (but we have yet to find maps showing the flow directions and associated dates). An abstract by Lavigne and others (2011) reported the volume of tephra erupted in the 2010 eruption at over 100 x 106 m3, ~10-fold higher than similar deposits after typical eruptions in the past few decades, and among the factors why ongoing lahars are likely to be a hazard.

Our summary covers events into late 2010, with recognition of ongoing seismicity, weaker emissions, and repeated lahars in early 2011. The bulk of this report is based on those from the Indonesian Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) and their observatory dedicated to Merapi (MVO). According to CVGHM, the 2010 eruption was the biggest since the 1872 eruption. Eruptions in 1930 killed around 1,300 people. The last eruption of Merapi occurred during March 2006-August 2007 (BGVN 31:05, 31:06, 32:02, and 33:10). A table appears near the end of this report summarizing some key events and observations. Fatalities and scale of evacuations are discussed in a separate subsection below. Another subsection notes that at least one commercial airliner sustained serious in-flight engine damage.

Regional background and prior eruptive patterns. Merapi (figures 38, 39, and 40) is located in the central part of Java, and this region and the island as a whole have extremely high population density (roughly double that of Japan or Thailand). Substantial numbers of people live or vacation on the mountain. The most densely settled part of the mountain is the dangerous S side (figure 39).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 38. (Bottom) Two maps showing Merapi's location and (on the larger map) the distribution of block-and-ash flows that took place during 1954-1998. During that interval, these deposits went to the NW, W, and SW. From Hort and others (2006).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 39. A map of the S portion of Merapi showing population data in shaded patterns with key at left. The segments of circles depict distances from the summit. The 2010 eruptions sent pyroclastic flows through Merapi's SE quadrant, thus passing areas of elevated population. Taken from OCHA (8 November 2010).
Figure (see Caption) Figure 40. A set of simple diagrams illustrating Merapi in cross section (looking W; S is to the left) summarizing behavior that occurred during 1986-1994 (such a diagram has yet to be published for the 2010 eruption). The 1989 case shows VT earthquakes in the edifice (circles containing crosses). Taken from Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet (2000).

Figure 38 provides a summary of block-and ash-flow deposits from 1954-1998 (Hort and others, 2006; Schwarzkopf, 2001). The eruptions starting in October 2010 sent pyroclastic flows and possible surges at least 15 km in the volcano's W to S quadrant. Block-and-ash flows are pyroclastic flows formed by dome collapse and containing a substantial amount of broken dome fragments.

The inset map at the lower left shows Merapi with respect to the city of Yogyakarta (30 km SSW). Although the metro area of that city has a population of 1.6 million residents, the Indonesian statistical bureau estimated the 2010 populations of the ~30 km2 city of Yogyakarta at ~396,000 residents, and the broader region at ~3.5 million residents.

Figure 39 shows the summit and S part of Merapi, plotting population data by village at distances up to 20-25 km from the summit. This side of the volcano is by far the most densely populated, and was also crossed by numerous pyroclastic flows both historically and in the 2010 eruptions.

Figure 40 illustrates critical processes in Merapi's mode of eruption in the recent past. A significant portion of the dome is unconfined by the summit crater and the S side is free to descend the volcano's upper slopes endangering residents below. In the recent episode, CVGHM benefitted from daily access to satellite radar imagery that reliably depicted dome morphology despite weather and steam clouds. Vöge and Hort (2008) and Hort and others (2006) discuss monitoring dome instability using Doppler radar.

Monitoring and lead-up to the 26 October 2010 eruption. Since 2007, short swarms of volcanic earthquakes occurred (eg., on 31 October 2009, 6 December 2009, and 10 June 2010). Monitored parameters, including earthquakes, deformation, and gas emmisions increased significantly during September 2010. Steeper increases in seismicity appeared during 15-26 October with the main ramp-up during 20-26 October.

Figure 41 shows several histograms that depict Merapi seismic data and summarize the variations in hazard status. The CVGHM scale, which stretches from 1 (low) to 4 (high), makes a complete ascent and partial descent through the full range of those levels during the date range shown. The heavy vertical line between Alert Levels 3 and 4 took place on 25 October, slightly before the onset of the major eruption on 26 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 41. Three histograms describing Merapi seismicity during 1 September 2010 to 6 March 2011. Horizontal scale marked in weeks and extends from 1 September 2010 to 5 March 2011. Words along the top line show hazard status (on an increasing scale starting from 1 [Normal] and extending to 2 [Waspada]), to 3 [Siaga]), and finally to 4 [Awas] and then declining). The top panel contains seismically inferred rockfalls and avalanches (guguran in Indonesian). The middle panel shows multiphase (MP) earthquakes (shallow source, dominant frequency ~1.5 Hz). The bottom panel shows volcanic earthquakes of both A- and B-type (where VTA represents deep volcano-tectonic earthquakes, 2.5-5 km below the summit; VTB represents shallow volcano-tectonic earthquakes, less than ~1.5 km below the summit). Taken from CVGHM report of 7 March, with minor revisions by Bulletin editors.

Figure 42 presents typical waveforms for various types of earthquakes and tremor signals previously recorded at Merapi (Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet, 2000). Both multiphase (MP) and volcanic type-A (VTA) showed strong peaks in seismicity prior to the 26 October eruption's onset. Rockfalls on upper panel (labeled guguran) and type-b events on bottom panel both peaked on or near 26 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 42. Typical waveforms, tremor signals, and descriptive seismic terminology in use at Merapi. These include tremor, LF-low frequency (earthquakes nominally from shallow sources, dominant frequency between 3 and 4 Hz), VTA and VTB (volcano-tectonic A and B, where VTA represents deeper volcano-tectonic earthquakes, 2.5-5 km below the summit; and VTB represents shallower volcano-tectonic earthquake, less than ~1.5 km below the summit), and MP-multiphase earthquakes. Records are from Station PUS (~0.5 km E of summit), shown in the upper part of the figure, and from Station DEL (~3 km SE of the summit), in the lower part. From Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet (2000).

The onset of the 26 October explosion occurred ~19 hours after an M 7.7 tectonic earthquake along the trench near the Mentawai islands adjacent to Central Sumatra, 1,200 km NW of Merapi. This earthquake was followed by several aftershocks, including two prior to the eruption (M 6.1 and 6.2) and one after the eruption (M 5.8). One or more of these earthquakes triggered tsunamis that hit the remote Mentawai islands, sweeping entire villages to sea and killing at least 428 people. There, too, thousands of people were displaced. The two near-simultaneous crises taxed authorities, NGOs, and the natural hazards community (figure 43).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 43. A map emphasizing the locations of the M 7.7 tsunamigenic (tsunami-generating) earthquake and the eruption onset at Merapi, events of 25 and 26 October, respectively. (The earthquake time stated is incorrect—according to USGS cataloging, it registered at 1442 UTC on the 25th, which corresponds to 2142 local time that day. The eruption began at 1002 UTC on the 26th). Jakara is Indonesia's capital. Courtesy of Relief Web.

Except for the close timing and regional proximity, the linkage between the M 7.7 earthquake and the eruption remains ambiguous. However, many researchers have noted that tectonic earthquakes can seemingly trigger volcanic responses (eg., Delle Donne and others, 2010; Lowenstern, JB, Smith, RB, and Hill, DP, 2006; Manga and Brodsky, 2006).

In early September 2010, the pattern of increased volcanic seismicity began to appear with MP earthquakes averaging 10/day and VTA and VTB averaging 3/day, with a total daily seismic energy of 603 x 1012 erg.

Gas analyses in August 2010 showed concentrations of HCl of 0.8 % mol and H2O of 80 % mol. Declining levels of H2O (less than 90 %) and increased levels of HCl (>0.5 %) were interpreted to indicate increased activity.

In September, summit inflation increased markedly. Seismicity also increased beginning on 12 September, when an M 2.5 VTA earthquake and pyroclastic flows/avalanches occurred. On 13 September, VTA earthquakes occurred twice, and white plumes rose 800 m above the crater.

During 23-26 October, there were small steam-and-ash emissions. Inflation increased sharply on 24 October to a rate of 420 mm/day. The next day, CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 4, and recommended immediate evacuation for several communities within a 10-km radius. A Reuters photo by Dwi Oblo taken at sunrise on 26 October looking up at the dome and the prominent S-trending avalanche channel revealed comparatively calm conditions, with emissions consisting of a thick white steam plume blowing W from the dome.

Initial October eruptions. The first eruption occurred at 1702 on 26 October 2010, an event characterized by explosions and multiple pyroclastic flows that traveled S ~8 km down the Gendol and Kuning drainages, and to some extent WSW down the Bedog drainage. Most of the pyroclastic flows lasted 2-9 minutes, but the eruptions associated with the final two each lasted 35 minutes. The event killed 35 people including the renowned mystical guardian of Merapi, Mbah Mbahmarijan, at 7 km distance.

Figure 44 shows an exposed ridge affected by pyroclastic flows in a photo taken on 27 October.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 44. An exposed ridge at Merapi as it appeared the day after the 26 October eruption. Pyroclastic flows had reduced forest to stumps, leaving stripped and fallen trees. Courtesy of The Boston Globe website of Merapi photos (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images).

According to the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), an ash plume rose to an altitude of 18 km, followed by extrusion of lava in the summit crater.

By 27 October the lava dome had sustained damage and a new 200-m-diameter crater had formed at the summit. After that, lava extrusions built a small dome in the crater. A space-based estimate made from the ozone monitoring instrument (OMI) indicated the eruption on the 26th vented at least 3,000 metric tons of SO2 gas. According to the Darwin VAAC, ground-based reports indicated that another explosion occurred on 28 October 2010. Cloud cover prevented satellite observations.

Following the eruption and continuing through 4 November, intense tremor took place. It was felt by people up to 20 km from the volcano.

CVGHM reported that two pyroclastic flows occurred on 30 October following an early morning explosion, the third since 26 October. According to a news article, ash fell in Yogyakarta, 30 km SSW, causing low visibility. CVGHM noted four pyroclastic flows on 31 October.

Stronger eruptions in November. According to CVGHM, during 31 October-4 November, a lava dome grew rapidly within Merapi's summit crater. Collapses from the S side of the dome fed minor pyroclastic flows that extended several hundred meters into the upper part of the Gendol valley.

On 1 November, an explosion began mid-morning with a low-frequency earthquake, and avalanches occurred. About seven pyroclastic flows occurred during the next few hours (figure 45), traveling SSE a maximum runout distance of 4 km, and in another (possibly later) case that day, 9 km. The Darwin VAAC reported that the explosion produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 6.1 km. News reports noted flight diversions and cancellations in and out of the airports serving Solo (40 km E) and Yogyakarta.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 45. On 1 November 2010, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this thermal signature of Merapi's lava dome and hot pyroclastic flows. The thermal information is overlaid on a three-dimensional map of the volcano to show the approximate location of the pyroclastic flow. The three-dimensional data is from a global topographic model created using ASTER stereo observations. Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory website (credit to Robert Simmon and Jesse Allen and NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team). Original caption by Holli Riebeek.

On 2 November, an ash plume was seen in satellite imagery drifting 75 km N at an altitude of 6.1 km. On the same day, CVGHM reported 26 pyroclastic flows. On 3 November, observers stationed at multiple posts reported ash plumes from pyroclastic flows. One pyroclastic flow traveled 10 km, prompting CVGHM to extend the hazard zone from a radius of 10 km to 15 km, and they recommended evacuations from several more communities. Another pyroclastic flow traveled 9 km SE later that day. Figure 46 shows a 2 November view of Merapi.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 46. Incandescent material spilled from Merapi's dome glows orange-red in colored versions of this long-exposure photograph taken on 2 November 2010 from ~25 km SSE of the summit (Klaten district). Condensate droplets in the thin (lenticular) clouds over the summit also reflect considerable light. Courtesy of The Boston Globe (Boston.com website); photo credit to Sonny Timbelaka (AFP/Getty Images).

CVGHM reported that, during 3-8 November, the eruption from Merapi continued at a vigorous pace, characterized by incandescent avalanches from the lava dome, pyroclastic flows, ash plumes, and occasional explosions.

Visual observations were often difficult due to inclement weather and eruption plumes. To overcome these challenges, people working on the crisis gained regular access to satellite radar data of high resolution (RADARSAT2). That data was made available 25 October through an agreement called the International Charter Space and Major Disasters.

According to the NASA Earth Observatory website, the strongest explosion during the 2010 eruption took place on 4-5 November, lasting more than 24 hours, when plumes rose to ~18 km altitude and drifted 110 km W. They claimed that some surges of pyroclastic material reached an 18 km runout distance (direction and damage unstated and several kilometers longer than some other observations). They also said that, according to local geologists, this explosion was the most violent one at Merapi since the 1870's. They noted that, by some estimates, the 4-5 November eruption was five times more intense than the one on 26 October.

A CVGHM report on the 4-5 November eruption stated that 38 pyroclastic flows had occurred before it ended. Although dense fog hampered visual observations, a CVGHM observer from Kaliurang post (~7 km S of the summit) saw 19 of those 38 flows travel ~4 km S. Another traveled 9 km SE. Ashfall was noted in some nearby areas. Satellite data indicated this explosion released much more SO2 than previous recent Merapi eruptions, ~300,000 metric tons.

Residents in towns up to 240 km away reported that 'heavy gray ash' blanketed trees, cars, and roads. On 5 November, rumbling sounds were heard in areas 30 km away, and pyroclastic flows continued to descend the flanks. Ash fell in Yogyakarta and "sand"-sized tephra fell within 15 km. CVGHM recommended evacuations from several more towns within a 20-km radius. Observations shortly after the 5 November eruption showed that the large lava dome of the previous week had been destroyed, and the summit crater had enlarged to a diameter of 300-400 m. However, by 6 November, another lava dome had grown, amassing, according to RADARSAT images 11 hours apart, at a rate of ~35 m3 per second.

Activity remained very intense on 6 November. Pyroclastic flows continued to descend the flanks; one flow traveled 4 km down the Senowo drainage to the W. Incandescent flashes from the lava dome were reported from observations posts, and incandescent material was ejected above the crater. Incandescent avalanches traveled 2 km down multiple drainages to the SSE, S, and SSW. The Darwin VAAC reported that ash plumes seen in satellite imagery rose to an altitude of 16.8 km on 5 and 6 November.

During this period, ashfall was heavy on Merapi's flanks, and was observed in multiple surrounding areas, including the villages of Selo (~5 km NNE) and Magelang (26 km WNW). In Muntilan village (18 km WSW), tephra and ash accumulated up to 4 cm. At the volcano, a new dome formed during 6-7 November 2010; it stood ~240 m in a NW-SE orientation, 140 m wide, and 40-50 m high.

On 7 November, the number of pyroclastic flows increased from the previous day. An explosion was heard, and ash plumes rose 6 km and drifted W. Lightning was seen from Yogyakarta. Pyroclastic flows traveled 5 km, and lava avalanches moved 600 m S and SW. The next day, ash plumes rose to altitudes of 6-7 km and were accompanied by rumbling sounds. According to the Darwin VAAC, satellite imagery during 7-8 November showed ash plumes at an altitude of 7.6 km drifting 165-220 km W and SW.

Figure 47 shows Merapi's erupted SO2 in the atmosphere during 4-8 November 2010. On 9 November, an SO2 cloud was seen over the Indian Ocean at altitudes of 12-15 km.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 47. SO2 concentration-pathlength (in Dobson units, with 100 DU as darkest colors) during 4-8 November 2010, as observed by the OMI on NASA's Aura spacecraft. OMI data provided courtesy of Simon Carn (Michigan Technical University). Courtesy of Natural Hazards NASA Earth Observatory website (image by Jesse Allen, and original caption by Michon Scott).

The European Space Agency (ESA) has created updates on SO2 gas retrieval from their Envisat, Eumetsat's MetOp, and NASA's Aura satellites. For the interval 4-13 November 2010, the peak atmospheric loading of SO2 appeared on 8 November at 227 kT SO2. The estimates can be seen presented as animations that depict complex rotating dispersal patterns. As seen in figure 47, significant portions of the gas blew over Western Australia. In Norwegian Institute for Air Research models shown in the article, many of the Merapi plumes centered around 15 km altitude, with tops and bottoms ~5 km above and below that height.

ESA (2010) quoted Andrew Tupper as saying, "The updates from ESA have been very useful to Darwin VAAC [Volcanic Ash Advisory Center] when received in real time, and we expect that in the post-event analysis we'll be able to show lots more potential value." The SO2 maps can help the aviation community avoid dangerous emissions from volcanoes.

ESA (2010) noted that they send SO2 email alerts in near-real time. The alerts link to a web page with a map showing the location of the sulphur dioxide peak.

Reduced eruptive vigor; lahars. Eruptions and seismicity generally dropped during mid-November 2010 into March 2011, but lahars became a problem. On 9 November, CVGHM noted a reduction in the intensity of activity; a single pyroclastic flow occurred in a 6-hour period. Rumbling sounds were accompanied by an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 4.5 km, and ashfall was reported in Selo (~5 km NNE). Lava-dome incandescence was again observed, and lava avalanches moved 800 m SSE.

During 10-11 November, seismicity continued to decrease. Lahar deposits were seen in multiple drainages, at a maximum distance of 16.5 km from the summit. On 10 November, plumes generally rose 0.8-1.5 km above the crater. Heavy ashfall was reported in areas to the WSW and WNW. A 3.5-km-long pyroclastic flow and a 200-m-long avalanche both traveled S in the Gendol drainage. Incandescence from the crater was observed through a closed-circuit television system at the Merapi museum (in the village of Kaliurang, ~7 km S of the summit). On 11 November, roaring was followed by light ashfall at the Ketep Merapi observation post, ~9 km NW of the summit. Plumes, brownish-black at times, rose 800 m above the crater and drifted W and NW, and one plume rose 1.5 km. Avalanches again proceeded S in the Gendol drainage.

According to the Darwin VAAC, during 12-21 November, ash plumes rose as high as 7.6 km and drifted in multiple directions. The SO2 concentration at high altitudes decreased. About 300,000 residents also began to return home after the "danger zone" was reduced in some areas due to decreased activity.

Between 10 November and 1 December, lahar deposits were seen in multiple drainages and in all rivers flowing from Merapi. CVGHM noted that several bridges had been damaged. On 29 November, a narrow tongue of lava was observed, and light-colored flow deposits extended S down several narrow channels (Gendol and Kuning drainages) at least 5 km from the summit.

According to CVGHM, seismicity declined further during 1-3 December, in number of volcanic earthquakes and their associated energy. Deformation measurements were either stable or did not show significant changes. Although fog often prevented visual observations, gas plumes were seen rising 500 m above the crater and drifting W. SO2 plumes were no longer detected in satellite imagery. On 4 December, the Alert Level was lowered to 3.

On 9 January, as seismicity continued to decrease, CVGHM lowered the Alert Level to 2. Plumes continued to rise above the crater and, on 12 January, avalanches descended the Krasak drainage, traveling 1.5 km SW. Lahars and high water during 15-23 January damaged infrastructure and caused temporary road closures. On 22 January, plumes rose 175 m above the crater and drifted E.

According to a news account (vivanews.com), Merapi spewed thick white plumes as of the first week of February 2011. CVGHM reported that gas plumes rose from Merapi during 28 February-6 March. The highest plume, on 5 March, rose 100 m and drifted E. The number of MP earthquakes was slightly lower compared to the previous week.

Analysis of the lahar problem emerged as this issue went to press. According to Lavigne and others (2011) the volume of pyroclastic debris from the 2010 eruptive episode was in excess of 100 x 106 m3, ~10-fold higher than similar deposits after more conventional eruptions. These deposits and subsequent lahars filled most of the protective Sabo-dam structures. The eruption coincided with the onset of the rainy season, an interval that usually brings 4 m of rain but due to La Niña conditions, is predicted to bring more rain than usual. The 50-year absence of lahars in Kuning and Woro drainages altered the perception of risk in residents there. Thousands of sand miners work in the riverbed of all lahar-prone channels.

Fatalities and scale of evacuations. As previously noted, on 26 October, pyroclastic flows killed ~35 people who 7 km from the summit. They had refused to evacuate the village of Kinahejo (Kinahrejo).

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (quoting the Government of Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency-Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana or BNPB), the 2010 eruptions killed 386 people, injured 131 people, and displaced initially more than 300,000 residents (USAID, 2011). According to Relief Web, the 11,000 displaced remained unable to return to their homes at least as late as January 2011.

Lahars followed the eruptive processes and caused at least one additional death and one injury. An 11 January IRIN News article stated that " . . . more than 300,000 people have been able to return home, another 11,000 remain displaced, living with family or in camps, according to the government's National Disaster Management Agency."

According to the UN's Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN News), a source of humanitarian news and analysis, rainfall triggered lahars on Merapi's flanks on 3 and 9 January 2011. This caused damage to houses, farms, and infrastructure in multiple villages in the Magelang district, 26 km WNW of Merapi. One death and an injury were reported. The flooded area reportedly affected an estimated 3,000 residents but the number evacuated was unstated. The flooding on 9 January was more intense and, according to IRIN News, the Red Cross evacuated dozens of people trapped in their homes.

Referring to the larger 2010 eruption and evacuees, the same 11 January IRIN article stated that " . . . more than 300,000 people have been able to return home, another 11,000 remain displaced, living with family or in camps, according to the government's National Disaster Management Agency." This article also quoted the same agency with regard to the 386 reported deaths and the 131 injuries from the 2010 eruption.

Airlines affected. According the Jakarta Post, a total of 13 international carriers stopped their flights to Jakarta on 6 November, citing concerns about volcanic ash in the air that could cause damage to their aircraft and engines, and thus jeopardize safety. They included Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Singapore Airlines, Emirate, Ethihad, Turkish Air, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, and KLM.

Andrew Tupper at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology notified us that Indonesian media reported that a plane encountered a volcanic cloud N of Java ascribed to Merapi on 28 October 2010. The suspected ash-plume encounter occurred at altitudes in the range 9.1-11.6 km. An engine stall message alerted the crew, who also noted a strong burning odor that disappeared as the plane descended from 9.1 to 6.1 km altitude.

According to another news account (Kompas.com), possibly reporting the same incident, on 28 October, a Garuda Indonesia airplane with 383 passengers from Solo, Central Java, landed safely at Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, a scheduled refueling stop. Enroute, volcanic ash from Merapi had been sucked into the left engine of the Airbus 330 aircraft, disrupting the engine. Richard Wijaya, Operational Duty Manager of Garuda Indonesia in Batam, explained that the pilot had notified ground staff of the disruption before landing, and as soon as they landed in Batam, the engine was checked. The crew cancelled the next leg of the scheduled flight to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

On 2 November, an unspecified number of international airlines had to cancel flights to airports at Solo and Yogyakarta, as plumes blackened the sky. Poor visibility and heavy ash on the runway caused the cancellations. According to an ABC news report, Yogyakarta airport reopened on 20 November after being closed for ~2 weeks.

Data table. Table 20 summarizes currently available CVGHM reports on Merapi's behavior during September to 1 December 2010. In the first row, it presents some background values commonly seen at Merapi during non-eruption conditions. Seismic terminology in the table is equivalent to that seen in figure 42 (Ratdomopurbo and Poupinet, 2000). Note the rise in seismic energy on 19 September, various changes in Alert Level, and major events in bolded type. Comparative calm prevailed after early November, but lahars became a problem (see text). The table is intended to give readers an overview of the eruption rather than capture all the details.

Table 20. Preliminary summary of pyroclastic flows as well as some collateral observations, and hazard status changes relating to Merapi during early September through 22 November 2010. Pyroclastic flows (locally termed AP for awan panas, hot clouds) here are tallied both from seismic detection and visual observations, along with direction of travel. The table omits seismic data shown in figure 41. The "ber" (beruntun) refers to episodes of densely spaced signals indistinguishable from each other. Those signals were common beginning 4 November and complicated assessments of tremor (not shown). The pre-eruption seismic energy was less than 342 x 1012 erg (normal, non-eruptive conditions). Courtesy of CVGHM and A. Ratdomopurbo (personal communication).

Date Pyroclastic flows Related comments
Early Sep 2010 -- Seismic energy, 603 x 1012 ergs
19 Sep 2010 -- Seismic energy, ~6,000 x 1012 erg
20 Sep 2010 -- Alert Level raised to 2
21 Oct 2010 -- Alert Level raised to 3
25 Oct 2010 -- Regional M 7.7 earthquake; Alert Level raised to 4
26 Oct 2010 8 [Multiple (WSW, SE)] Initial eruption at 1702 LT
30 Oct 2010 2 Second explosive eruption; ashfall in city of Yogyakarta
31 Oct 2010 4 Eruption
01 Nov 2010 7 during several hr --
02 Nov 2010 26 Eruption; 9 and 10 km runout distances
03 Nov 2010 38 [At least 19 (S)] Eruption
04 Nov 2010 ber [Multiple] Eruption (over 24 hours)
05 Nov 2010 ber [Multiple] 4-5 Nov. eruption was largest 2010 eruption (ash plume to 16.8 km asl); runout distances of ~18 km(?); widespread ash fall; dome destruction
06 Nov 2010 5 [Multiple] Eruption, rapid dome extrusion
07 Nov 2010 ber [Multiple] Eruption
08 Nov 2010 7 Eruption
09 Nov 2010 2 [1 in 6 hr period] Weaker eruption
10 Nov 2010 1 [At least 1 (S)] Weaker eruption
11 Nov 2010 1 [At least 1 (S)] Weaker eruption
14 Nov 2010 2 [0 (none)] Weaker eruption
15 Nov 2010 [1] Weaker eruption
16 Nov 2010 [1] Weaker eruption
22 Nov 2010 [5] Eruption

References. Delle Donne, D., Harris, AJL, Ripepe, M, and Wright, R., 2010, Earthquake-induced thermal anomalies at active volcanoes, Geology, Sept. 2010; v. 38; pp. 771-774 [DOI: 10.1130/G30984.1].

European Space Agency (ESA), 2010, Satellites tracking Mt Merapi volcanic ash clouds, ESA News (online; 15 November 2010) (URL: http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMY0Y46JGG_index_0.html).

Hort, M, Vöge, FM., Seyfried, R, and Ratdomopurbo, A, 2006, In situ observation of dome instabilities at Merapi volcano, Indonesia: A new tool for volcanic hazard mitigation, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 154, no. 3-4, p. 301-312.

Lavigne,F, de Bélizal, E, Cholik, N, Aisyah, N, Picquout, A, and Wulan Mei, ET, 2011, Lahar hazards and risks following the 2010 eruption of Merapi volcano, Indonesia, Geophysical Research Abstracts, v. 13, EGU2011-4400, 2011, EGU General Assembly 2011.

Lowenstern, JB, Smith, RB, and Hill, DP, 2006, Monitoring super-volcanoes: geophysical and geochemical signals at Yellowstone and other large caldera systems, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 15 August 2006, v. 364, no. 1845, p. 2055-2072.

Manga, M. and Brodsky, E, 2006, Seismic triggering of eruptions in the far field: volcanoes and geysers, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, v. 34, p. 263-291 [DOI: 10.1146/annurev.earth.34.031405.125125].

Ratdomopurbo, A, and Poupinet, G, 2000, An overview of the seismicity of Merapi volcano (Java, Indonesia), 1983-1994, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 100, no. 1-4, p.193-214 (DOI: 10.1016/S0377-0273(00)00137-2).

Schwarzkopf, L, 2001, The 1995 and 1998 block and ash flow deposits at Merapi volcano, Central Java, Indonesia: implications for emplacement mechanisms and hazard mitigation. Ph.D. Thesis, University at Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), 2011 (February 4), Indonesia - Tsunami and Volcano, Fact Sheet 2, Fiscal Year 2011.

Vöge, FM, and Hort, M, 2008, Automatic classification of dome instabilities based on Doppler radar measurements at Merapi volcano, Indonesia: Part I. Geophysical Journal International, v. 172, no. 3, p. 1188-1206 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03605.x).

Geologic Background. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. It is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time.

Information Contacts: Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM), Jalan Diponegoro 57, Bandung 40122, Indonesia (URL: http://vsi.esdm.go.id/); Merapi Volcano Observatory (MVO); Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, PO Box 40050, Casuarina, NT 0811, Australia (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/info/vaac/); NASA Earth Observatory (URL: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/); U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (URL: https://www.usaid.gov/); Antonius Ratdomopurbo, Nanyang Technological University, Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Avenue, Singapore (URL: http://www.earthobservatory.sg/); Andrew Tupper, Australian Bureau of Meteorology (URL: http://www.bom.gov.au/); European Geosciences Union (URL: http://www.egu.eu/); Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB - Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency) (URL: http://dibi.bnpb.go.id/); Relief Web (URL: https://reliefweb.int/); Kompas News, Jakarta, Indonesia (URL: http://www.Kompas.com); The Jakarta Post (URL: http://www.thejakartapost.com/); Reuters (URL: http://www.reuters.com/); Vivanews.com (URL: http://vivanews.com/); ABC News (Australia) (URL: http://www.abc.net.au/); The Boston Globe (URL: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/11/mount_merapis_eruptions.html); IRIN News (URL: http://www.IRINnews.org/).