Logo link to homepage

Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — November 1989


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 14, no. 11 (November 1989)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Merapi (Indonesia) Large lava dome growing slowly in summit crater

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1989. Report on Merapi (Indonesia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 14:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198911-263250



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The slowly growing lava dome in the summit crater reached 6.6 x 106 m3 by late 1989, a size described as "critical" for the collapse-prone dome. A white plume rose as much as 250 m from the crater's solfatara field, but under little pressure. COSPEC measurements showed an average SO2 flux of 73 t/d, up slightly from August. No lahar occurred during September, but alert status has been increased with the coming rainy season. Seismicity generally increased in September from August values (table 3). No A-type events were recorded.

Table 3. Seismicity recorded at Merapi, January-February and August-September 1989.

Month Collapse Multiphase volcanic B-type Tectonic
Jan 1989 416 11 2 70
Feb 1989 208 24 0 65
Aug 1989 430 50 2 64
Sep 1989 609 34 2 279

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: VSI.