Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — 16 May-22 May 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 May-22 May 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Merapi (Indonesia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 May-22 May 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
PVMBG reported that a phreatic eruption at Merapi began at 0125 on 21 May and lasted for 19 minutes, generating an ash plume that rose 700 m above the crater and drifted W. A six-minute-long phreatic eruption began at 0938 and produced an ash plume that rose 1.2 km above the crater. Ashfall from both events was reported in areas 15 km downwind. A third event, detected at 1750, lasted three minutes and produced a plume of unknown height. After the events one volcano-tectonic earthquake and one tremor event were recorded. The seismicity along with increased phreatic events prompted PVMBG to raise the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1-4).
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.