YOGYAKARTA: A torrent of lava and searing gas clouds streaming 3,000 metres (nearly 10,000 feet) down its slopes, Indonesia’s most active volcano erupted on Wednesday. There were no injuries reported.
It was possible to detect the sounds of the explosion 30 kilometres away, officials added. Hanik Humaida, director of the Yogyakartas Volcanology and Geological Threat Mitigation Centre, said it was Mount Merapi’s largest lava flow since authorities increased its danger level in November.
She said the lava dome of the volcano is rising exponentially, allowing its slopes to flood down with hot lava and gas clouds.
The ashfall turned into muck in some villages following the morning storm. More than 150 residents living within 5 kilometres of the crater, mainly aged, were evacuated to barracks set up for the displaced.
In November, officials evacuated nearly 2,000 people living in the Magelang and Sleman districts on the peak, but most have returned since then.
At the second-highest level, the warning is being held and officials have advised people to keep out of the current danger zone around the crater.
On heavily populated Java island, near the ancient city of Yogyakarta, is the 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) volcano. It is the most active of hundreds of Indonesian volcanoes and has recently erupted regularly with clouds of lava and smoke.
347 people were killed by Merapi’s last major eruption in 2010.
Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million inhabitants, is vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic activity because a horseshoe-shaped series of geological fault lines across the ocean lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire.