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Spewing ash, hot gases and rocks, Mount Merapi blankets several villages and towns in Indonesia

Mount Merapi erupts spewing ash and hot gases (Pic Courtesy Al Jazeera)

Having given a warning in January this year, Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupted again. The eruption has sent hot ash clouds and gas, high in the air and also lava down the slopes of the mountain.

On a single day in January, Mount Merapi erupted 30 times, alerting and making people scared of lava flow.

On August 8 (Sunday), the volcano which is located on the island of Java – a densely populated island – released rocks and other types of debris. All this rolled down the southwest side of Mount Merapi several times.

Considered to be one of the most volatile volcanoes of Indonesia, Mount Merapi had witnessed increased activity in weeks gone by. It was evident as the Merapi’s lava dome was growing rapidly before collapsing partially.

After the eruption began at 5 a.m. local time, a series of fast-moving pyroclastic flows was seen. This flow is a volcanic phenomenon and included in it are hot and turbulent avalanches of hot lava rocks, ash and volcanic gases, all mixed together. The hot ash thrown up in the air went up one kilometre while the clouds of gases were sent three kilometres down the Mount’s slopes.

According to Hanik Humaida who heads the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre in the city of Yogyakarta, the ash from the volcano eruption had blanketed many of the nearby towns and several villages around the Mount.

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With the sound of the rumbling heard several kilometres away, and with people inhabiting near the Mount warned earlier, there have been no casualties.

The people and families who are living either on the slopes or near it, were given prior warning to keep at least five kilometres away from the mouth of the crater. This information was shared by Indonesia’s Geology and Volcanology Research Agency.

Mount Merapi’s last major eruption took place in 2010. Then this 2,968-metre volcano had caused the death of 347 people.

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