Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — 20 January-26 January 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
20 January-26 January 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Merapi (Indonesia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 January-26 January 2021. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
BPPTKG reported that the “2021 lava dome” continued to grow just below Merapi’s SW rim during 15-21 January, producing a total of 282 incandescent lava avalanches that traveled as far as 1 km down the Krasak and Boyong river drainages on the SW flank. Pyroclastic flows were recorded 19 times and descended the SW flanks as far as 1.8 km. A comparison of photos taken on 14 and 21 January showed that the morphological changes in the summit area were attributed to the emergence of new lava domes. The 2021 dome volume was an estimated 104,000 cubic meters on 21 January, with a growth rate of about 8,600 cubic meters per day. Deformation continued, though at a lower rate; Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) data showed a distance shortening between points in the NW at a rate of 0.8 cm per day. Seismic activity was lower than the previous week. According to news articles ashfall was reported in several villages in the Musuk, Tamansari, and Kemalang districts on 19 January. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public were warned to stay 5 km away from the summit.
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.