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Report on Semeru (Indonesia) — June 1996


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 6 (June 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Semeru (Indonesia) Eruptions form ash plumes

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Semeru (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199606-263300



8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A pilot report from Qantas Airlines on 5 May noted activity around 1800 generating a plume to ~10.5 km altitude. Eruptive activity was again observed from the same flight at 1745 on 7 May, but the ash cloud was only ~1 km above the summit and drifting NE.

Based on a report from Japan Air Lines, another aviation notice of volcanic ash from Semeru was posted at 0335 on 11 May. The report indicated that ash extended ~300 m above the peak and was moving SE at 18.5 km/hour. Lauda Air reported a low-level ash cloud around 1,300 m altitude on the early morning of 12 May, and a Qantas Airlines flight observed periodic emissions later that evening that did not rise above 6 km altitude. Satellite imagery throughout 5-12 May showed no ash plumes.

Geological Summary. Semeru, the highest volcano on Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern end of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. The steep-sided volcano, also referred to as Mahameru (Great Mountain), rises above coastal plains to the south. Gunung Semeru was constructed south of the overlapping Ajek-ajek and Jambangan calderas. A line of lake-filled maars was constructed along a N-S trend cutting through the summit, and cinder cones and lava domes occupy the eastern and NE flanks. Summit topography is complicated by the shifting of craters from NW to SE. Frequent 19th and 20th century eruptions were dominated by small-to-moderate explosions from the summit crater, with occasional lava flows and larger explosive eruptions accompanied by pyroclastic flows that have reached the lower flanks of the volcano.

Information Contacts: Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin, NT 0801, Australia; Jim Lynch, NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA.