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Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — April 1987


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 4 (April 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Merapi (Indonesia) Lava dome, largest since 1973, appears stable

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Merapi (Indonesia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198704-263250



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Merapi was inspected on 9 May. The September 1986-January 1987 lava dome remained stable and was not growing [but see 12:8]. A robust whitish gas plume containing SO2 continued to be emitted from fumaroles on the E side of the lava dome and from the Gendol and Woro fumarole fields. The volume of the new lava dome measured on 9 May was slightly in excess of 4 x 106 m3, the largest since 1973. No rockfall avalanches were noted during April, although several earthquakes/day were recorded.

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: T. Casadevall, USGS & VSI.