Lawu

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 7.625°S
  • 111.192°E

  • 3265 m
    10709 ft

  • 263260
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: May 1979 (SEAN 04:05) Citation IconCite this Report


Earthquake swarm during late 1978

The Indonesian newspaper Kompas reported that the first earthquakes of a swarm in the vicinity of the Lawu volcanic complex were felt on 10 December 1978. Area residents reported 14 felt shocks in December, five in January, two in February, six in March, and eight in April. The earthquakes were usually preceded by thunder-like rumbling from the direction of Lawu.

Seismicity became more frequent in late April and early May. At least four felt events occurred on 26 April, including a 10-second earthquake at 1900 that damaged a temple and a transmitting station. On 4 May a landslide in Lawu's Candradimuka Crater (in the S part of the complex) was followed by emission of a thick vapor cloud that was accompanied by a sulfur odor. Between the evening of 4 May and 0700 the next morning, nine events were felt. A total of 27 felt shocks occurred on 5 May, 37 on the 6th, and 35 on the 8th. A series of five earthquakes lasting 4-6 seconds each took place at about 1230 on 9 May. During a 12-hour period 14-15 May, there were more than 1,000 recorded events, more than 50 of which were felt. A VSI team is investigating the seismicity.

Further Reference. Tjia, H.D., and Hamidi, S., 1981, An earthquake swarm around Lawu volcano in Java: Berita Geologi, v. 13, p. 108-111.

Information Contacts: Kompas, Jakarta.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Lawu.

Bulletin Reports - Index


Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

05/1979 (SEAN 04:05) Earthquake swarm during late 1978




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


May 1979 (SEAN 04:05) Citation IconCite this Report


Earthquake swarm during late 1978

The Indonesian newspaper Kompas reported that the first earthquakes of a swarm in the vicinity of the Lawu volcanic complex were felt on 10 December 1978. Area residents reported 14 felt shocks in December, five in January, two in February, six in March, and eight in April. The earthquakes were usually preceded by thunder-like rumbling from the direction of Lawu.

Seismicity became more frequent in late April and early May. At least four felt events occurred on 26 April, including a 10-second earthquake at 1900 that damaged a temple and a transmitting station. On 4 May a landslide in Lawu's Candradimuka Crater (in the S part of the complex) was followed by emission of a thick vapor cloud that was accompanied by a sulfur odor. Between the evening of 4 May and 0700 the next morning, nine events were felt. A total of 27 felt shocks occurred on 5 May, 37 on the 6th, and 35 on the 8th. A series of five earthquakes lasting 4-6 seconds each took place at about 1230 on 9 May. During a 12-hour period 14-15 May, there were more than 1,000 recorded events, more than 50 of which were felt. A VSI team is investigating the seismicity.

Further Reference. Tjia, H.D., and Hamidi, S., 1981, An earthquake swarm around Lawu volcano in Java: Berita Geologi, v. 13, p. 108-111.

Information Contacts: Kompas, Jakarta.

Eruptive History


Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1885 Nov 28 1885 Nov 28 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
[ 1752 May 1 ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Photo Gallery


Lawu stratovolcano rises to 3265 m above rice fields on its NW side. Lawu is one of the most massive volcanoes of Java, occupying much of the area between the cities of Surakarta (Solo) on the west and Madiun on the east. The only reported historical eruption from Lawu was an eruption in 1885 that produced minor ashfall.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1995 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The massive compound stratovolcano Lawu dominates the skyline east of the city of Surakarta (Solo). This view is from the south, with a white steam plume rising from a thermal area at the center of the photo. The younger Lawu volcano, of Holocene age, was constructed to the north of an older complex. A crescentic rift valley between the two volcanoes is occupied on the east by several crater lakes. No historical eruptions are known from Lawu.

Photo by J. Matehelumual, 1979 (Volcanological Survey of Indonesia).
See title for photo information.
The forested, compound stratovolcano Lawu, seen here from the SW, lies between the cities of Surakarta (Solo) and Madiun. A trail to the top of the volcano is used for pilgramages to the Hindu-Buddhist temple near the summit.

Photo by J. Matahelumual, 1979 (Volcanological Survey of Indonesia).
See title for photo information.
Steam plumes rise at the lower right above a solfataric area on the southern flanks of Gunung Lawu volcano at an elevation of 2550 m. Erosion of hydrothermally altered rocks produces vegatation-free areas.

Photo by Dan Dzurisin, 1980 (U.S. Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.
Kawah Kuning crater, at the summit of Gunung Lawu volcano, is seen here in an aerial view from the west. The flat-floored, 250-m-wide crater is truncated by younger craters to the south.

Photo published in Taverne, 1926 "Vulkaanstudien op Java," (courtesy of Volcanological Survey of Indonesia).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


There are no samples for Lawu in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites