Indonesia warns volcano could erupt at any time

October 25, 2010 By SLAMET RIYADI , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Indonesia warned Monday that its most volatile volcano could erupt at any time and started evacuating some of the thousands of villagers living on the mountain's slope.

Mount Merapi has seen increased over the past week and officials have raised the alert level for the 9,737-foot (2,968-meter) -high mountain to the most urgent level, said government volcanologist Surono, who uses only one name.

The mountain last erupted in 2006, when it sent an avalanche of blistering gases and rock fragments racing down the mountain that killed two people. A similar eruption in 1994 killed 60 people, while 1,300 people died in an eruption in 1930.

"Officials have predicted that if it erupts, magma would flow to the southern side," said Sri Purnomo, the head of Sleman district on Java island, where Mount Merapi is located.

He said officials were warning some 11,400 villagers living on the mountain's southern slope to prepare for "urgent evacuation." About 40,000 people live close to the mountain.

Purnomo said camps to take in the evacuees were being set up at government buildings and sports fields more than six miles (10 kilometers) away.

Hundreds of the elderly and children have been moved from villages near the slopes of Mount Merapi to Umbulharjo village, where they are being placed in government buildings and tents prepared by local officials.

Ponco Sumarto and her two grandchildren were among about 100 villagers who arrived Monday at a refugee camp in Umbulhardjo.

"I just have to follow orders to take shelter here for safety even though I'd rather like to stay at home," 65-year-old Sumarto said. She said her children stayed at home to take care of their livestock and crops.

Bejo Mulyo, chief of Umbulharjo, said some 300 villagers in all have been evacuated to several refugees sites late Monday.

There are more than 129 active volcanoes to watch in Indonesia, which is spread across 17,500 islands and is prone to eruptions and earthquakes because of its location within the so-called "Ring of Fire" - a series of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and Southeast Asia.

The most recent was Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province. It had been dormant for four centuries before springing to life in August but has since quieted and refugees from its slopes have returned home.

Explore further: Indonesia orders evacuations as volcano threatens

0 shares

Related Stories

Indonesian volcano evacuation ordered

May 11, 2006

Indonesian officials have ordered the evacuation of about 17,000 residents of the island of Java as Mount Merapi spews more lava and poisonous smoke.

Indonesian volcano erupts again; strongest yet

September 7, 2010

(AP) -- An Indonesian volcano shot a towering cloud of black ash high into the air Tuesday, dusting villages 15 miles (25 kilometers) away in its most powerful eruption since awakening last week from four centuries of dormancy.

Villagers return to slopes of Indonesian volcano

August 31, 2010

(AP) -- Villagers briefly returned home Tuesday to check their farms along the fertile slopes of an Indonesian volcano that erupted after laying dormant for more than four centuries - catching many scientists off-guard.

Indonesian volcano spews new burst of ash

September 3, 2010

(AP) -- An Indonesian volcano that was quiet for four centuries shot a new, powerful burst of hot ash more than 10,000 feet (three kilometers) in the air Friday, sending frightened residents fleeing to safety for the second ...

Recommended for you

Tracking Antarctic adaptations in diatoms

January 16, 2017

Diatoms are a common type of photosynthetic microorganism, found in many environments from marine to soil; in the oceans, they are responsible for more than a third of the global ocean carbon captured during photosynthesis. ...

Study tracks 'memory' of soil moisture

January 16, 2017

The top 2 inches of topsoil on all of Earth's landmasses contains an infinitesimal fraction of the planet's water—less than one-thousandth of a percent. Yet because of its position at the interface between the land and ...

How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

January 16, 2017

66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth. Climate scientists have now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid ...

Soil pores, carbon stores, and breathing microbes

January 16, 2017

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently studied how moisture influences soil heterotrophic respiration. That's the breathing-like process by which microbes convert dead organic carbon in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.