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Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — August 1996


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 8 (August 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Merapi (Indonesia) Increasing eruptive activity prompts preparations for evacuation

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Merapi (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199608-263250



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A news report in early August noted that emission of thick clouds from the crater had increased significantly. Emitted clouds and "glowing lavas" reportedly blackened the peak of the mountain. Villagers living on the slope of Merapi were apparently told to make preparations for possible evacuation.

On 13 September a pilot report from Qantas Airlines stated that an ash cloud had been observed above Merapi to ~6 km altitude. In a communication with the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Center, the Merapi Volcano Observatory reported no significant change in the eruptive status, consisting of small ash clouds being produced. No plume was evident on satellite imagery.

Geological Summary. 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 2,000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequent growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent 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.

Information Contacts: Xinhua News Agency, 5 Sharp Street West, Wanchai, Hong Kong; Bureau of Meteorology, Northern Territory Regional Office, P.O. Box 735, Darwin NT 0801, Australia.