Report on Semeru (Indonesia) — 30 November-6 December 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
30 November-6 December 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Semeru (Indonesia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 November-6 December 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
8.108°S, 112.922°E; summit elev. 3657 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
PVMBG reported that the eruption at Semeru was ongoing the past month, culminating in a collapse of lava causing notable pyroclastic flows and ash plumes on 4 December. During 1 November-2 December an average of 88 daily white-and-gray ash plumes of variable densities were visually observed rising as high as 1.5 km above the summit. Pyroclastic flows, seen twice, traveled as far as 4.5 km down the flank. Deformation data showed inflation and thermal anomalies indicated hot lava-dome material at the summit. A white-to-gray ash plume rose around 500 m above the summit and drifted S on 3 December.
At 0246 on 4 December material collapsed on the SE flank, producing a series of pyroclastic flows that mainly traveled 5-13 km SE and S, and as far as 19 km in those same directions, according to BNPB. The pyroclastic flows overtook the Gladak Perak Bridge, 13 km SE of the summit, which connected residents of Pronojiwo (13 km SE) and Lumajang (32 km ESE) and appeared to be under construction based on pictures posted on social media. Dense dark-gray ash plumes rose along the pyroclastic flows up to 1.5 km above the summit and drifted SE and S. The ash plumes caused dark conditions and limited visibility, especially in Kajar Kuning (12 km SE) where residents reported dense ashfall and heavy rain. Ejected incandescent material was deposited as far as 8 km from the summit, and ashfall was reported in areas 12 km SE. Pyroclastic flows were ongoing at least through 0951, traveling 5-7 km down the flanks. At 1200 PVMBG raised the Alert Level to 4 (the highest level on a scale of 1-4) and warned the public to stay at least 8 km away from the summit, and 500 m from Kobokan drainages within 17 km of the summit, along with other drainages originating on Semeru, including the Bang, Kembar, and Sat, due to lahar, avalanche, and pyroclastic flow hazards. A total of 1,979 people were evacuated to 11 centers, a public kitchen was established, and thousands of masks were distributed to minimize respiratory health risks due to volcanic ash.
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.