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Report on Semeru (Indonesia) — January 1980


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 5, no. 1 (January 1980)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Semeru (Indonesia) Dome growth and ash explosions decline

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1980. Report on Semeru (Indonesia) (Squires, D., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 5:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198001-263300



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Extrusion of a summit dome began in 1967 and was continuing in late 1979. Until 1974, dome growth was concentrated in the S portion of the summit, shifting since then to the SE but remaining in the summit area. Lava avalanches, nuées ardentes (traveling a maximum of about 7 km), and ash explosions have accompanied the dome extrusion.

During 1979, the rate of dome growth slowed, and ash explosions became weaker and less frequent, occurring at intervals of 45 minutes to 1 hour in contrast to 30-35 minutes in 1977-8. Although almost all of the 1977-8 explosions were recorded by a seismograph 7 km S of the summit, few of the most recent explosions can be detected by this instrument.

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: A. Sudradjat and L. Pardyanto, VSI.