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Report on Semeru (Indonesia) — September 1996


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 9 (September 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Semeru (Indonesia) Intermittent pilot reports of eruptions from August to October

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Semeru (Indonesia) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199609-263300



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A pilot report from Qantas Airlines on 1 August noted an ash cloud at an altitude of 4,000 m. Animated visible and infrared GMS satellite data through 0832 on 2 August did not reveal any discernible ash plume.

Another Qantas pilot report indicated that Semeru erupted at 1625 and 1637 on 12 September with ash reaching 4,600-m altitude and drifting NW; no plume was seen on satellite imagery. At approximately 0640 the next day a localized plume was evident on satellite imagery drifting SSW to ~35 km away. Eruptive activity was again observed by Qantas pilots who reported at 1154 on 29 September thick black "smoke" at 6 km altitude. Another aircraft report at 2110 later that day indicated ash to 6 km moving N and NW. Satellite data showed local high cloud cover throughout the day, but no apparent ash plume.

On 6 October an eruption was reported by Qantas pilots at 1418. The dense plume was rising to ~4.6 km altitude with no significant drift.

Semeru is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes of Java. It lies at the S end of a volcanic massif extending N to the Tengger Caldera and has been in almost continuous eruption since 1967.

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; NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB), Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746, USA; Tom Fox, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 999 University Street, Montreal, Quebec H3C 5H7, Canada.