Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — March 1994
Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 3 (March 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.
Merapi (Indonesia) Hazard status up: sharp increases in pyroclastic flows, glowing rock falls, and tilt
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Merapi (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199403-263250.
7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The number of pyroclastic flows, glowing rock falls, and tilt increased sharply in the past several months (table 7). Both pyroclastic flows and rockfalls with substantial incandescent components traveled as far as 1.8 km (more typically, 0.5-1.0 km) down the SW slopes. In March, the number of these falls increased 1,550-fold over the background value at an undisclosed time (table 7).
|Date||Pyroclastic Flows||Rockfalls||SO2 flux variation||SO2 flux average||RSAM background||RSAM maximum|
|Dec 1993||bkgd.||409x||41-108||66||~14||~22 (1)|
|1-23 Mar 1994||47x||1550x||65-197||123||~16||greater than 24 (2)|
Tiltmeters were installed in November 1992 on the crater rim near the contact with the 1992 dome. Beginning in July 1993 they showed a consistent outward rotation of ~5 µrad/day, achieving a change of 1,200 µrad overall through the end of March 1994. A measure of seismic power output (RSAM) also showed cumulative increases during November 1993-Mar 1994, indicating heightened seismic activity (table 7). During this interval the SO2 flux data were less compelling, but also showed both overall and generally progressive increases in the smallest values measured for any one interval (table 7).
Based on these monitoring data VSI proposed a shift in the hazard status, from "Normal Activity" to "First Alert Level."
Geologic Background. 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 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive 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 during historical time.
Information Contacts: W. Tjetjep and R. Sukhyar, VSI; S. Bronto, MVO; UPI.