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Report on Merapi (Indonesia) — 17 May-23 May 2006


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 May-23 May 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Merapi (Indonesia) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 May-23 May 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (17 May-23 May 2006)



7.54°S, 110.446°E; summit elev. 2910 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The Alert Level at Merapi remained at 4, the highest level, during 17-22 May. Incandescence and sulfur-dioxide plumes were observed. Pyroclastic flows to the SW and SE reached 4 km on 19 May and 3 km on 20 May. On 22 May, the lava dome volume was estimated at ~ 2.3 million cubic meters. The Darwin VAAC reported that low-level emissions continued during 18-19 and 23 May. CVGHM recommended that residents who live in valleys on the NNW flanks near Sat, Lamat, Senowo, Trising, and Apu Rivers and on the SE flank near Woro River be allowed to return to their homes. Residents remained evacuated from villages within a 7 km radius from the volcano's summit and within 300 m of the banks of the Krasak/Bebeng, Bedog, and Boyong Rivers to the SW, and the Gendol River to the SE.

According to news reports, an eruption producing a cloud of hot gas and ash was witnessed on 17 May. Witnesses said the size of the plume was smaller than ash-and-gas plumes on 15 May. On 18 May, a representative for Merapi from the Center for Volcanological Research and Technology Development (part of CVGHM), reported new ashfall.

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.

Sources: Reuters, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG, also known as CVGHM), Agence France-Presse (AFP), Associated Press, Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC)