Vulcano/Mount Merapi 2010 Eruption

Vulcano

Vulcano

View of Vulcano from the island of Lipari.
Elevation 501 m (1,644 ft)
Location
Location Aeolian Islands, Italy
Coordinates 38°24′14″N 14°57′43″E / 38.404°N 14.962°E / 38.404; 14.962
Geology
Type Complex Stratovolcanoes
Last eruption 1890
 

Vulcano and the Aeolian Islands.
 

The Gran Cratere. A sense of scale is provided by the tourist visible near the centre of the crater.
 

View of Vulcano from the island of Lipari. The green islet centre left is Vulcanello, which is connected to Vulcano by an isthmus. The Fossa cone is immediately behind it.

Vulcano (Sicilian: Vurcanu) is a small volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 25 km north of Sicily and the southernmost of the eight Aeolian Islands. It is 21 square kilometers in area, rises to 499 meters, and contains several volcanic centers, including one of four active non-submarine volcanoes in Italy.

History

The Roman name for the island Vulcano has contributed the word for volcano in most modern European languages. The Romans used the island mainly for raw materials, harvesting wood and mining alum and sulfur. This was the principal activity on the island until the end of the 19th Century.

When the Bourbon rule collapsed in 1860 (see Francis II of the Two Sicilies) a British man named James Stevenson bought the northern part of the island, built a villa, reopened the local mines and planted vineyards for grapes that would later be used to make Malmsey wine. Stevenson lived on Vulcano until the last major eruption on the island, in 1888. The eruption lasted the better part of two years, by which time Stevenson had sold all of his property to the local populace, and never returned to the island. The villa is still intact.

Currently, around 470 people live on the island, mainly deriving their income from tourism. It is a few minutes hydrofoil ride from Lipari and has several hotels and cafes, the important attractions being the beaches, hot springs and sulfur mud baths.

The volcanic activity in the region is largely the result of the northward-moving African Plate meeting the Eurasian Plate. There are three volcanic centres on the island:

  • At the southern end of the island are old stratovolcano cones, Monte Aria (501 m), Monte Saraceno (481 m) and Monte Luccia (188 m), which have partially collapsed into the Il Piano Caldera.
  • The most recently active centre is the Gran Cratere at the top of the Fossa cone, the cone having grown in the Lentia Caldera in the middle of the island, and has had at least 7 major eruptions in the last 6000 years.
  • At the north of the island is Vulcanello, 123 metres high, and is connected to the rest of it by an isthmus which is flooded in bad weather. It emerged from the sea during an eruption in 183 BC as a separate islet. Occasional eruptions from its three cones with both pyroclastic flow deposits and lavas occurred from then until 1550, the last eruption creating a narrow isthmus connecting it to Vulcano.

Vulcano has been quiet since the eruption of the Fossa cone on 3 August 1888 to 1890, which deposited about 5 metres of pyroclastic material on the summit. The style of eruption seen on the Fossa cone is called a Vulcanian eruption, being the explosive emission of pyroclastic fragments of viscous magmas caused by the high viscosity preventing gases from escaping easily. This eruption of Vulcano was carefully documented at the time by Giuseppe Mercalli.

Mythology

The Ancient Greeks named the island Therassía (Θηρασία) and Thérmessa (Θέρμεσσα, source of heat). The island appeared in their myths as the private workshop of the Olympian god Hephaestus, protector of the blacksmiths; he owned another two at Etna and Olympus. Strabo also mentions Thermessa as sacred place of Hephaestus (ἱερὰ Ἡφαίστου), but it’s not clear if it was a third name for the island, or just an adjective.

Similarily the Romans believed that Vulcano was the chimney to the god Vulcanus’s workshop. The island had grown due to his periodic clearing of cinders and ashes from his forge. The earthquakes that either preceded or accompanied the explosions of ash etc., were considered to be due to Vulcanus making weapons for Mars and his armies to wage war.

Since Roman times similar features on Earth have been known as volcans, volcanes and volcanoes. It is also used in connection with similar features on the Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury and other solar system bodies.

Gallery

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Gran Cratere e Lipari.JPG
Fumarola Vulcano.jpg

Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi
Gunung Merapi

Merapi, July 2005
Elevation 2,968 m (9,738 ft) [1]
Prominence 1,392 m (4,567 ft) [citation needed]
Listing Ribu
Translation Mountain of Fire (Indonesian)
Location
Mount Merapi is located in Indonesia 

Mount Merapi

Border of Central Java / Yogyakarta (Indonesia)

Coordinates 7°32′26.99″S 110°26′41.34″E / 7.5408306°S 110.4448167°E / -7.5408306; 110.4448167Coordinates: 7°32′26.99″S 110°26′41.34″E / 7.5408306°S 110.4448167°E / -7.5408306; 110.4448167
Geology
Type Active Stratovolcano
Age of rock 400,000 years
Last eruption 6 November 2010

Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi (literally Mountain of Fire in Indonesian/Javanese), is an active stratovolcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. It is located approximately 28 km north of Yogyakarta city, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1700 m above sea level.

The name Merapi could be loosely translated as ‘Mountain of Fire’ from the Javanese combined words; Meru means “mountain” and api means “fire”. Smoke can be seen emerging from the mountaintop at least 300 days a year, and several eruptions have caused fatalities. Hot gas from a large explosion killed 27 people on November 22 in 1994, mostly in the town of Muntilan, west of the volcano.[3] Another large eruption occurred in 2006, shortly before the Yogyakarta earthquake. In light of the hazards that Merapi poses to populated areas, it has been designated as one of the Decade Volcanoes.

On 25 October 2010 the Indonesian government raised the alert for Mount Merapi to its highest level and warned villagers in threatened areas to move to safer ground. People living within a 20 km (12.5 mile) zone were told to evacuate. Officials said about 500 volcanic earthquakes had been recorded on the mountain over the weekend of 23–24 October, and that the magma had risen to about a kilometre below the surface due to the seismic activity. On the afternoon of 25 October 2010 Mount Merapi erupted lava from its southern and southeastern slopes.

Geological history

 

Merapi before 2007 eruption.

Merapi is the youngest in a group of volcanoes in southern Java. It is situated at a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian Plate is sliding beneath the Eurasian Plate. It is one of at least 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire – a section of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and South East Asia.[6] Stratigraphic analysis reveals that eruptions in the Merapi area began about 400,000 years ago, and from then until about 10,073 years ago, eruptions were typically effusive, and the outflowing lava emitted was basaltic. Since then, eruptions have become more explosive, with viscous andesitic lavas often generating lava domes. Dome collapse has often generated pyroclastic flows, and larger explosions, which have resulted in eruption columns, have also generated pyroclastic flows through column collapse.

 

Merapi in 1930

There has been no late eruption. Typically, small eruptions occur every two to three years, and larger ones every 10–15 years or so. Notable eruptions, often causing many deaths, have occurred in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872, and 1930—when thirteen villages were destroyed and 1400 people killed by pyroclastic flows.

A very large eruption in 1006 is claimed to have covered all of central Java with ash. The volcanic devastation is claimed to have led to the collapse of the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram, however there is insufficient evidence from that era for this to be substantiated.

2006 eruption

 

Pyroclastic flows (2006)

In April 2006, increased seismicity at more regular intervals and a detected bulge in the volcano’s cone indicated that fresh eruptions were imminent. Authorities put the volcano’s neighboring villages on high alert and local residents prepared for a likely evacuation. On April 19 smoke from the crater reached a height of 400 meters, compared to 75 metres the previous day. On April 23, after nine surface tremors and some 156 multifaced quakes signalled movements of magma, some 600 elderly and infant residents of the slopes were evacuated.

By early May, active lava flows had begun. On May 11, with lava flow beginning to be constant, some 17,000 people were ordered to be evacuated from the area[8] and on May 13, Indonesian authorities raised the alert status to the highest level, ordering the immediate evacuation of all residents on the mountain.[9] Many villagers defied the dangers posed by the volcano and returned to their villages, fearing that their livestock and crops would be vulnerable to theft.[6] Activity calmed by the middle of May.

On May 27, a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck roughly 50 km (30 miles) southwest of Merapi, killing at least 5,000 and leaving at least 200,000 people homeless in the Yogyakarta region, heightening fears that Merapi would “blow”.[11] The quake did not appear to be a long-period oscillation, a seismic disturbance class that is increasingly associated with major volcanic eruptions. A further 11,000 villagers were evacuated on June 6 as lava and superheated clouds of gas poured repeatedly down its upper slopes towards Kaliadem, a location that was located southeast of Mt. Merapi.[12] The pyroclastic flows are known locally as “wedhus gembel” (Javanese for “shaggy goat”). There were two fatalities as the result of the eruption.

2010 eruption

Eruptive background

In late October 2010 the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Geological Agency (CVGHM), (Indonesian language—Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi, Badan Geologi-PVMBG), reported that a pattern of increasing seismicity from Merapi had begun to emerge in early September. Observers at Babadan 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) west and Kaliurang 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of the mountain reported hearing an avalanche on 12 September 2010. On 13 September 2010 white plumes were observed rising 800 metres (2,600 ft) above the crater. Lava dome inflation, detected since March, increased from background levels of 0.1 millimetres (0.0039 in) to 0.3 millimetres (0.012 in) per day to a rate of 11 millimetres (0.43 in) per day on 16 September. On 19 September 2010 earthquakes continued to be numerous, and the next day CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1–4).[13] Lava from Mount Merapi in Central Java began flowing down the Gendol River on 23–24 October signalling the likelihood of an imminent eruption.

On 25 October 2010 the Indonesian government raised the alert for Mount Merapi to its highest level (4) and warned villagers in threatened areas to move to safer ground. People living within a 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) zone were told to evacuate. The evacuation orders affected at least 19,000 people however the number that complied at the time remained unclear to authorities. Officials said about 500 volcanic earthquakes had been recorded on the mountain over the weekend of 23–24 October, and that the magma had risen to about a 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) below the surface due to the seismic activity

Eruptive events

On Monday afternoon 25 October 2010 Merapi erupted three times, spewing lava down its southern and southeastern slopes. Three major eruptions were recorded at 14:04, 14:24 and 15:15. On 25 October 222 volcanic seismic events and 454 avalanche seismic events were recorded by Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation monitoring staff at Merapi.

The eruptions on 26 October started at 17:02. By 18:54 pyroclastic activity had begun to subside following 12 eruption associated events being recorded by CVGHM monitors. In the 24 hours of 26 October 232 volcanic seismic events, 269 avalanche seismic events, 4 lava flow seismic events and 6 heat clouds were recorded by Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation monitoring staff at Merapi. The eruptive events of 26 October were classified as an explosive event with volcanic bursts of ejected material, visible flame and pyroclastic hot air flows. A column of smoke rose from the top to a vertical distance of 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) from the summit of the Mount Merapi.

On Friday 29 October eruptive activity included lava ejection with hot ash clouds reported to be flowing 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) down the slopes of the mountain and lasting four to nine minutes. Ash falls reached as far as the Central Java town of Magelang. Scientists monitoring the volcano including Surono, chief of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) were optimistic that the volcanic activity should decrease following the release of lava. Safari Dwiyono, a scientist monitoring Mt. Merapi for 15 years, said the volcanic activity appeared to be easing pressure behind a lava dome that had formed in the crater.

By early on the morning of Saturday 30 October the volcano was erupting again. Sri Sumarti, head of the Merapi section at the Volcano Investigation and Technology Development Institution (BPPTK), reported the eruptions were louder and stronger than the eruptions of the 26 October. Those earlier eruptions on the previous Tuesday killed 34 people. Ash from the eruptions on 30 October fell more than 30 kilometres (19 mi) away and now included ash falls upon the city of Yogyakarta. Soldiers and police posted nearest the volcano were seen fleeing along with hundreds of residents quickly clogging roads with cars and motorcycles. Black soot fell across a vast area. The morning eruptions lasted for 22 minutes and heat clouds flowed into the Krasak and Boyong Rivers also rising 3.5 kilometres (11,000 ft) into the air, westward toward Magelang. Yogyakarta’s Adisucipto Airport was temporarily closed from 5AM to 7AM. On 30 October, Subandrio, head of the BPPTK suggested there would be further eruptions as lava continued to push it’s way up into the volcano’s lave dome.

On 3 November heat clouds travelled up to 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away from the eruption forcing the government to evacuate people from within the refugee camps set up to accommodate those already dislocated by the volcano. Eruptions on the afternoon of Wednesday 3 November followed a morning eruption that sent hot gas clouds down the volcano’s slopes. The volcano spewed clouds of ash and gas 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) into the sky for more than an hour on 3 November. The eruptions of that day were reported as being the largest since the eruptions commenced.

Surono, head of Indonesia’s vulcanology agency announced on 3 November that he was moving the shelters to 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) away from the summit. Speaking on Indonesia’s Metro TV network he said, “this is the first time that the eruption has continued for more than an hour, so I decided to move the shelters to 15 km away from the summit”. The shelters had previously been set up 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away. Surono added that the energy from the eruption on 3 November was three times greater than that of the first eruption in the previous week. Bambang Ervan, a spokesman from the Transportation Ministry, said an official warning had been issued to all airlines to “use alternative routes for safety reasons due to the volcanic ash.” From 2 November several airlines including Garuda, AirAsia and Silkair international flights to both Yogyakarta and Solo were either suspended or re-routed due to the eruptive activity.

Heavy rain during the night of 3-4 November triggered lahars with mixtures of water and rock debris cascading down the Kuning, Gendol, Woro, Boyong, Krasak and Opak rivers on the slopes of the volcano. A bridge was destroyed and riverbanks damaged. The eruption at 5:55AM on the 4 November was reported as being five times stronger that the initial eruption on 26 October 2010. On 4 November Merapi had been erupting for 24 hours without stopping. Heat clouds of 600 to 800 degrees Celsius spread as far as 11.5 kilometers from the crater reaching toward the edge of the then 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) exclusion zone, and lava flowed into the mountain’s rivers. At least one Hajj flight from Solo to Batam is known to have had engine trouble related to volanic ash. 

Herry Bakti Gumay, Director General of air transportation, stated on 4 November that the warning released to all airlines operating flights into Yogyakarta would not withdraw it until conditions returned to normal.

Merapi erupted early on Friday 5 November 2010. Volcanic ash fell at Cangkringan village and its surroundings 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). Due to continuous large eruptions, the government extended the safety zone to 20 kilometres (12 mi) radius and Yogyakarta’s airport was closed again for 3 hours in the morning. Volcanologists reported the eruptions of Friday 5 November to be the biggest since the 1870s and officials announced by loudspeaker that the mountain’s danger zone had been expanded to 20 kilometers from the crater. Bronggang, a village 15 kilometers from the crater was streets blanketed by ash up to 30-centimeters deep. By 5 November more than 100,000 people had been evacuated and the scientists monitoring the events were withdrawn from their posts to a safer distance. On 5 November at 11:07(UTC) the Australian government Bureau of Meteorology (VAAC) issued an ongoing code red Aviation Volcanic Ash Advisory and reported satellite image (MTSAT-2) derived information indicating a volcanic ash plume to FL550 OBS extending 190 nautical miles to the west and southwest of the mountain.

Casualties

On 26 October at least 18 people, including one 2-month old baby, were found dead due to burns and respiratory failure caused by hot ashes from the eruption. Thousands were evacuated within a radius of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) around the slopes of the volcano.

By Wednesday 27 October the death toll had risen to at least 25. The death toll included an elder, Mbah Maridjan (grandfather Marijan), known as the volcano’s spiritual guardian who was found dead at his home approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the peak. The Yogyakarta Palace subsequently confirmed his death. The 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) exclusion zone remained in place at the volcano with evacuation and ongoing search and rescue activities continuing at the site in an attempt to locate further victims of the previous days eruptions.

Later reports on the 27 October revised the toll upward to 30 persons recorded at Yogyakarta’s Dr. Sardjito Hospital with 17 hospitalized, mostly with burns, respiratory problems and other injuries. Earlier on 27 October two of the 28 bodies at the hospital had been identified. Yuniawan Nugroho, an editor with the vivanews.com news portal, was reported to have been killed while conducting reportage on the night of Tuesday 26 October, the other was later identified as Tutur Priyanto Indonesian, a 36 year man working for the Red Cross as a volunteer on the mountain. Tutur Priyanto had been retrieving and escorting residents from the slopes of the mountain. After making many trips he returned for a further ascent at 3:00PM to assist others to come off the mountain and died during one of the subsequent eruptive events. As of 1 November, 2010, the death toll from Mount Merapi’s blasts had climbed to 38. As of 5 November, 2010, the death toll had climbed over 120.

By 5 November at 3PM the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency was reporting 122 deaths attributable to the Merapi eruptions, primarily from the area of residents from Sleman Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta with an additional 151 injured people admitted to four Yogyakarta hospitals. Soldiers joined rescue operations in Bronggang, 15 kilometers from the crater to assist in recovering bodies from the village. At least 78 bodies were removed from homes and streets blanketed by ash up to 30-centimeters deep. They had been killed when hot ash clouds from the crater had travelled down the mountain in pyroclastic flows at speeds of up to 100km per hour and engulfed their village. Many of the dead on Friday 5 November were children from Argomulyo village, 18 kilometers from the crater, according to emergency response officials and witnesses.

Lava Dome deformation

During the 4th week of October 2010 deformation measurements were performed by Electric Distance Measurement (EDM), utilising reflectors mounted around the summit of Mount Merapi. The measurement results Indicated a rapidly increasing rate of growth of the lava dome in the build up to the eruptive events of 25–26 October 2010.

At the end of September 2010, the peak inflation rate of the lava dome at Mount Merapi was measured by EDM at an average growth rate of 6 millimetres (0.24 in). The subsequent rate of inflation up until October 21, 2010 reached 105 millimetres (4.1 in) per day. The inflation rate then increased very sharply, reaching 420 millimetres (17 in) per day by 24 October 2010. By the 25 October the average grow rate, measured from 6 EDM points over 24–25 October had risen to 500 millimetres (20 in) per day.[17]

The information gathered at the site indicated that the distension of the mountain’s slopes was much more rapid this during the current event than that observed during the 2006 event.

On 26 October the head of the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Surono, repeated his earlier statements that the greatest concern was the pressure building behind a massive lava dome that has formed near the tip of the crater. “The energy is building up. … We hope it will release slowly,” he said. “Otherwise we’re looking at a potentially huge eruption, bigger than anything we’ve seen in years”. Surono also said that said the distension of the mountain’s slopes was much more rapid this time around, indicating a higher-pressure build-up of gas and hence a much more explosive eruption and speculated that Merapi may erupt explosively, as it did in 1930, and not just eject gas as in 2006 eruptions.

By 5 November following a week of ongoing explosive eruptions experts monitoring Merapi were reported as being “baffled” as despite earlier predictions that the eruptions following the initial blast in the prior week would ease pressure building up behind a magma dome instead the eruptions intensified. An estimated 50 million cubic meters of volcanic material had been released by 5 November, “it was the biggest in at least a century,” said Gede Swantika, a state volcanologist, commenting on the eruptions of 5 November as plumes of smoke rose up more than 10,000 meters.

Monitoring

 

Merapi Volcano January 27, 2007.
 

Merapi next to Merbabu January 9, 2008.

Mount Merapi is the site of a very active volcano monitoring program. Seismic monitoring began in 1924, with some of the volcano monitoring stations lasting until the present. The Babadan (northwest location), Selo (in the saddle between Merbabu and Merapi), and Plawangan monitoring stations have been updated with equipment over the decades since establishment. During the 1950s and early 1960s some of the stations were starved of equipment and funds, but after the 1970s considerable improvement occurred with the supply of new equipment. Some of the pre-1930 observation posts were destroyed by the 1930 eruption, and newer posts were re-located. Similarly after the 1994 eruption, the Plawangan post and equipment were moved into Kaliurang as a response to the threat of danger to the volcanological personnel at the higher point.

The eruption of 1930 was found to have been preceded by a large earthquake swarm. The network of 8 seismographs currently around the volcano allow volcanologists to accurately pinpoint the hypocentres of tremors and quakes.

A zone in which no quakes originate is found about 1.5 km below the summit, and is thought to be the location of the magma reservoir which feeds the eruptions.

Other measurements taken on the volcano include magnetic measurements and tilt measurements. Small changes in the local magnetic field have been found to coincide with eruptions, and tilt measurements reveal the inflation of the volcano caused when the magma chambers beneath it is filling up.

Lahars (a type of mudflow of pyroclastic material and water) are an important hazard on the mountain, and are caused by rain remobilizing pyroclastic flow deposits. Lahars can be detected seismically, as they cause a high-frequency seismic signal. Observations have found that about 50 mm of rain per hour is the threshold above which lahars are often generated.

Culture

Merapi continues to hold particular significance for the Javanese beliefs: it is one of four places where officials from the royal palaces of Yogyakarta and Solo make annual offerings to placate the ancient Javanese spirits.[

To keep the volcano quiet and to appease the spirits of the mountain, the Javanese regularly bring offerings on the anniversary of the sultan of Yogyakarta’s coronation. For Yogyakarta Sultanate, Merapi holds significant cosmological symbolism, because it is forming a sacred north-south axis line between Merapi peak and Southern Ocean (Indian Ocean). The sacred axis is signified by Merapi peak in the north, the Tugu monument near Yogyakarta main train station, the axis runs along Malioboro street to Northern Alun-alun (square) across Keraton Yogyakarta (sultan palace), Southern Alun-alun, all the way to Bantul and finally reach Samas and Parangkusumo beach on the estuary of Opak river and Southern Ocean. This sacred axis connected the hyangs or spirits of mountain revered since ancient times—often identified as “Mbah Petruk” by Javanese people—The Sultan of Yogyakarta as the leader of the Javanese kingdom, and Nyi Roro Kidul as the queen of the Southern Ocean, the female ocean deity revered by Javanese people and also mythical consort of Javanese kings.

National park

In 2004 an area of 6,410 hectares around Mount Merapi was established as a national park. The decision of the Ministry of Forestry to declare the park has been subsequently challenged in court by The Indonesian Forum for Environment, on grounds of lack of consultation with local residents.During the 2006 eruption of the volcano it was reported that many residents were reluctant to leave because they feared their residences would be confiscated for expanding the national park.

2010 eruption of Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi

Merapi, July 2005
Location
Mount Merapi is located in Indonesia 

Mount Merapi

Border of Central Java / Yogyakarta (Indonesia)

Coordinates 7°32′26.99″S 110°26′41.34″E / 7.5408306°S 110.4448167°E / -7.5408306; 110.4448167Coordinates: 7°32′26.99″S 110°26′41.34″E / 7.5408306°S 110.4448167°E / -7.5408306; 110.4448167
Geology
Type Active Stratovolcano
Last eruption 6 November 2010
 

The thermal signature of hot ash and rock and a glowing lava dome on Mount Merapi.

Lava from Mount Merapi in Central Java, Indonesia began flowing down the Gendol River on 23 October 2010, signalling the likelihood of an imminent eruption.[2]

Several eruptions occurred over the next 2 weeks into early November, including pyroclastic flows. As of 5 November 2010 at least 122 deaths had occured.

Volcanic Eruptions

Recent background

In late October 2010 the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Geological Agency (CVGHM), (Indonesian language—Pusat Vulkanologi & Mitigasi Bencana Geologi, Badan Geologi-PVMBG), reported that a pattern of increasing seismicity from Merapi had begun to emerge in early September. Observers at Babadan 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) west and Kaliurang 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of the mountain reported hearing an avalanche on 12 September 2010. On 13 September 2010 white plumes were observed rising 800 metres (2,600 ft) above the crater. Lava dome inflation, detected since March, increased from background levels of 0.1 millimetres (0.0039 in) to 0.3 millimetres (0.012 in) per day to a rate of 11 millimetres (0.43 in) per day on 16 September. On 19 September 2010 earthquakes continued to be numerous, and the next day CVGHM raised the Alert Level to 2 (on a scale of 1–4). Lava from Mount Merapi began flowing down the Gendol River on 23–24 October signalling the likelihood of an imminent eruption.

On 25 October 2010 the Indonesian government raised the alert for Mount Merapi to its highest level (4) and warned villagers in threatened areas to move to safer ground. People living within a 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) zone were told to evacuate. The evacuation orders affected at least 19,000 people however the number that complied at the time remained unclear to authorities.[6] Officials said about 500 volcanic earthquakes had been recorded on the mountain over the weekend of 23–24 October, and that the magma had risen to about a 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) below the surface due to the seismic activity.

Eruptive events

Merapi erupted three times on Monday afternoon 25 October 2010, spewing lava down its southern and south-eastern slopes. Three major eruptions were recorded at 2:04PM, 2:24PM and 3:15PM.[8] On 25 October 222 volcanic seismic events and 454 avalanche seismic events were recorded by Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation monitoring staff at Merapi.

The eruptions on 26 October started at 5:02PM. By 6:54PM pyroclastic activity had begun to subside following 12 eruption associated events being recorded by CVGHM monitors. In the 24 hours of 26 October 232 volcanic seismic events, 269 avalanche seismic events, 4 lava flow seismic events and 6 heat clouds were recorded by CVGHM monitoring staff at Merapi. The eruptive events of 26 October were classified as an explosive event with volcanic bursts of ejected material, visible flame and pyroclastic hot air flows. A column of smoke rose from the top to a vertical distance of 1.5 kilometres (4,900 ft) from the summit of Mount Merapi.

On Friday 29 October eruptive activity included lava ejection with hot ash clouds reported to be flowing 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) down the slopes of the mountain and lasting four to nine minutes. Ash falls reached as far as the Central Java town of Magelang. Scientists monitoring the volcano including Surono, chief of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) were optimistic that the volcanic activity should decrease following the release of lava. Safari Dwiyono, a scientist monitoring Mt. Merapi for 15 years, said the volcanic activity appeared to be easing pressure behind a lava dome that had formed in the crater.

By early on the morning of Saturday 30 October the volcano was erupting again. Sri Sumarti, head of the Merapi section at the Volcano Investigation and Technology Development Institution (BPPTK), reported the eruptions were louder and stronger than the eruptions of the 26 October. Those earlier eruptions on the previous Tuesday killed 34 people. Ash from the eruptions on 30 October fell more than 30 kilometres (19 mi) away and now included ash falls upon the city of Yogyakarta. Soldiers and police posted nearest the volcano were seen fleeing along with hundreds of residents quickly clogging roads with cars and motorcycles. Black soot fell across a vast area. The morning eruptions lasted for 22 minutes and heat clouds flowed into the Krasak and Boyong Rivers also rising 3.5 kilometres (11,000 ft) into the air, westward toward Magelang. Yogyakarta’s Adisucipto Airport was temporarily closed from 5AM to 7AM. On 30 October, Subandrio, head of the BPPTK suggested there would be further eruptions as lava continued to push its way up into the volcano’s lave dome.

On 3 November heat clouds travelled up to 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away from the eruption forcing the government to evacuate people from within the refugee camps set up to accommodate those already dislocated by the volcano. Eruptions on the afternoon of Wednesday 3 November followed a morning eruption that sent hot gas clouds down the volcano’s slopes. The volcano spewed clouds of ash and gas 5 kilometres (16,000 ft) into the sky for more than an hour on 3 November. The eruptions of that day were reported as being the largest since the eruptions commenced.

Surono, head of Indonesia’s vulcanology agency announced on 3 November that he was moving the shelters to 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) away from the summit. Speaking on Indonesia’s Metro TV network he said, “this is the first time that the eruption has continued for more than an hour, so I decided to move the shelters to 15 km away from the summit”. The shelters had previously been set up 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away. Surono added that the energy from the eruption on 3 November was three times greater than that of the first eruption in the previous week.[15] Bambang Ervan, a spokesman from the Transportation Ministry, said an official warning had been issued to all airlines to “use alternative routes for safety reasons due to the volcanic ash.” From 2 November several airlines including Garuda, AirAsia and Silkair international flights to both Yogyakarta and Solo were either suspended or re-routed due to the eruptive activity.

Heavy rain during the night of 3–4 November triggered lahars with mixtures of water and rock debris cascading down the Kuning, Gendol, Woro, Boyong, Krasak and Opak rivers on the slopes of the volcano. A bridge was destroyed and riverbanks damaged. The eruption at 5:55AM on the 4 November was reported as being five times stronger that the initial eruption on 26 October 2010. On 4 November Merapi had been erupting for 24 hours without stopping. Heat clouds of 600 to 800 degrees Celsius spread as far as 11.5 kilometres (7.1 mi) from the crater reaching toward the edge of the then 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) exclusion zone, and lava flowed into the mountain’s rivers. At least one Hajj flight from Solo to Batam is known to have had engine trouble related to volcanic ash. Herry Bakti Gumay, Director General of air transportation, stated on 4 November that the warning released to all airlines operating flights into Yogyakarta would not withdraw it until conditions returned to normal.

Merapi erupted early on Friday 5 November 2010. Volcanic ash fell at Cangkringan village and its surroundings 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). Due to continuous large eruptions, the government extended the safety zone to 20 kilometres (12 mi) radius and Yogyakarta’s airport was closed again for 3 hours in the morning. Volcanologists reported the eruptions of Friday 5 November to be the biggest since the 1870s and officials announced by loudspeaker that the mountain’s danger zone had been expanded to 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the crater.Bronggang, a village 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the crater was streets blanketed by ash up to 30 centimetres (12 in) deep. By 5 November more than 100,000 people had been evacuated and the scientists monitoring the events were withdrawn from their posts to a safer distance. On 5 November at 11:07(UTC) the Australian government Bureau of Meteorology-Volcanic Ash Advisory Center(VAAC) issued an ongoing code red Aviation Volcanic Ash Advisory and reported satellite image (MTSAT-2) derived information indicating a volcanic ash plume to FL550 (55,000 feet (17,000 m)) extending 190 nautical miles to the west and southwest of the mountain.

Casualties

On 26 October at least 18 people, including a 2-month old baby, were found dead due to burns and respiratory failure caused by hot ashes from the eruption.[22] Thousands were evacuated within a radius of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) around the slopes of the volcano.

By Wednesday 27 October the death toll had risen to at least 25. The death toll included an elder, Mbah Maridjan (grandfather Marijan), known as the volcano’s spiritual gatekeeper who was found dead at his home approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the peak. The Yogyakarta Palace subsequently confirmed his death. The 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) exclusion zone remained in place at the volcano with evacuation and ongoing search and rescue activities continuing at the site in an attempt to locate further victims of the previous days eruptions.

Later reports on the 27 October revised the toll upward to 30 persons recorded at Yogyakarta’s Dr. Sardjito Hospital with 17 hospitalized, mostly with burns, respiratory problems and other injuries. Earlier on 27 October two of the 28 bodies at the hospital had been identified. Yuniawan Nugroho, an editor with the vivanews.com news portal, was reported to have been killed while conducting reportage on the night of Tuesday 26 October, the other was later identified as Indonesian Tutur Priyanto, a 36 year man working for the Red Cross as a volunteer on the mountain. Tutur Priyanto had been retrieving and escorting residents from the slopes of the mountain. After making many trips he returned for a further ascent at 3:00PM to assist others to come off the mountain and died during one of the subsequent eruptive events.  As of 1 November, 2010, the death toll from Mount Merapi’s blasts had climbed to 38.

By 5 November at 3PM the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency was reporting 122 deaths attributable to the Merapi eruptions, primarily from the area of residents from Sleman Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta with an additional 151 injured people admitted to four Yogyakarta hospitals.

Soldiers joined rescue operations in Bronggang, 15 kilometers from the crater to assist in recovering bodies from the village. At least 78 bodies were removed from homes and streets blanketed by ash up to 30-centimeters deep. They had been killed when hot ash clouds from the crater had travelled down the mountain in pyroclastic flows at speeds of up to 100km per hour and engulfed their village.  Many of the dead on Friday 5 November were children from Argomulyo village, 18 kilometers from the crater, according to emergency response officials and witnesses.

Lava Dome deformation

During the 4th week of October 2010 deformation measurements were performed by Electric Distance Measurement (EDM), utilising reflectors mounted around the summit of Mount Merapi. The measurement results Indicated a rapidly increasing rate of growth of the lava dome in the build up to the eruptive events of 25–26 October 2010.

At the end of September 2010, the peak inflation rate of the lava dome at Mount Merapi was measured by EDM at an average growth rate of 6 millimetres (0.24 in). The subsequent rate of inflation up until October 21, 2010 reached 105 millimetres (4.1 in) per day. The inflation rate then increased very sharply, reaching 420 millimetres (17 in) per day by 24 October 2010. By the 25 October the average grow rate, measured from 6 EDM points over 24–25 October had risen to 500 millimetres (20 in) per day.

The information gathered at the site indicated that the distension of the mountain’s slopes was much more rapid this during the current event than that observed during the 2006 event.

On 26 October the head of the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, Surono, repeated his earlier statements that the greatest concern was the pressure building behind a massive lava dome that has formed near the tip of the crater. “The energy is building up. … We hope it will release slowly,” he said. “Otherwise we’re looking at a potentially huge eruption, bigger than anything we’ve seen in years”. Surono also said that said the distension of the mountain’s slopes was much more rapid this time around, indicating a higher-pressure build-up of gas and hence a much more explosive eruption and speculated that Merapi may erupt explosively, as it did in 1930, and not just eject gas as in 2006 eruptions.

By 5 November, following a week of ongoing explosive eruptions experts monitoring Merapi were reported as being “baffled” as, despite earlier predictions that the eruptions following the initial blast in the prior week would ease pressure building up behind a magma dome, instead the eruptions intensified. An estimated 50 million cubic meters of volcanic material had been released by 5 November, “it was the biggest in at least a century,” said Gede Swantika, a state volcanologist, commenting on the eruptions of 5 November as plumes of smoke rose up more than 10,000 metres (33,000 ft).

The dust-caked and bloodied survivors of Mount Merapi’ eruption
Emerging from Hell
Sabtu, 6 November 2010 | 22:32 WIB
Seeking help: Rescuers arrive with injured children on the back of a truck to a safe zone in Yogyakarta for treatment as survivors continued to flee from the erupting Mount Merapi
Disaster zone: A rescuer carries an injured woman along a dusty road with fires raging beside it as the death toll from Merapis eruption hit 122
Ghostly faces: Two women covered in dust arrive to safety on the back of a motorbike
Apocalyptic scene: Dead farm animals lie aimid the ash-covered Central Java village of Argomulyo

KOMPAS.com – Horror scenes greeted rescuers arriving at villages near Mount Merapi after the Indonesian volcano’s worst eruption in a century last night sent the death toll soaring to more than 130.

Searing gas avalanched down the mountainside with a thunderous roar, torching houses and trees and incinerating villagers as they fled. The injured – with clothes, blankets and even mattresses fused to their skin by temperatures reaching 750C – were carried away on stretchers following the first big explosion just before midnight.

Soldiers joined rescue operations in hardest-hit Bronggang, a village nine miles from the crater, pulling at least 78 bodies from homes and streets blanketed by ash up to one-foot deep.

Crumpled roofs, charred carcasses of cattle, and broken chairs – all layered in white soot – dotted the smoldering landscape.

The volcano, in the heart of densely populated Java island, has erupted scores of times, killing more than 1,500 people in the last century alone. But tens of thousands of people live on its rolling slopes, drawn to soil made fertile by molten lava and volcanic debris.

Its latest activity started nearly two weeks ago. After Friday’s explosion – said by volcanologists to be the biggest since the 1870s – officials announced by loudspeaker that the mountain’s danger zone had been expanded to 12 miles. Previously, villages like Bronggang were still considered to be in the ‘safe zone’.

‘The heat surrounded us and there was white smoke everywhere,’ said Niti Raharjo, 47, who was thrown from his motorbike along with his 19-year-old son while trying to flee.

‘I saw people running, screaming in the dark, women so scared they fell unconscious,’ he said from a hospital where they were both being treated for burns.

‘There was an explosion that sounded like it was from a war… and it got worse, the ash and debris raining down.’

The greatest danger posed by Merapi has always been pyroclastic flows – like those that roared down the southern slopes at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

With bodies found in front of houses and in streets, it appeared that many of the villagers died from the searing gas while trying to escape, said Col. Tjiptono, a deputy police chief.

More than 150 injured people – most with burns and some with respiratory problems, broken bones and cuts – waited to be treated at the tiny Sardjito hospital, where the bodies piled up in the morgue, and two other hospitals.

‘We’re totally overwhelmed here,’ said Heru Nogroho, a spokesman at Sardjito. A total of 1,765 million cubic feet of volcanic material has been released.

More than 100,000 people living along Merapi’s fertile slopes have been evacuated to crowded emergency shelters, many by force, in the last week. Some return to their villages during lulls in activity, however, to tend to their livestock. They were told to stay away on Friday.

Even scientists from Merapi’s monitoring station were told they had to pack up and move down the mountain. They were scrambling to repair four of their five seismographs destroyed by the heavy soot showers.

Before Friday, the death toll from Merapi stood at 44, with most dying in the first blast on October 26. With the new deaths around the village of Bronggang it climbed to 122, the National Disaster Management Agency said.

In 1994, 60 people were killed by Merapi, while in 1930, more than a dozen villages were torched, leaving up to 1,300 dead.

International reaction

The Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday 28 October that his government was not accepting foreign aid and an assessment of needs was still being made.

  • Australia The Australian government made announcements In Jakarta pledging almost $1 million in aid. Paul Robilliard, charge d’affaires at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, said his government was also prepared to offer more support if needed, the money being intended primarily for the relief effort in the Mentawai Islands. Parts of the Australian funding is to be in the form of donations to Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s biggest Islamic organizations, as well as the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI). All three organizations are involved in relief efforts in the Mentawai Islands and around Merapi.
  • Canada Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon released a statement saying, “Canada’s condolences to the people of Indonesia following the recent natural disasters that have struck the country. “Canada is deeply concerned for the people of Indonesia, as they deal with the impacts of the recent tsunami and volcanic eruption,” said Minister Cannon. “On behalf of all Canadians, I offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those killed, and wish a quick recovery to the injured. Canada stands ready to provide support to the people of Indonesia if requested. We have received no reports to date of Canadian deaths or injuries due to these disasters. Canadian officials in Ottawa and at the Canadian Embassy in Jakarta continue to monitor the impact of the disasters and remain in close contact with Indonesian authorities. We invite Canadian citizens in the affected area, even if they have not been affected by these events, to call home and reassure their loved ones.
  • Europe On Friday 29 October 2010 the European Commission announced that it was offering 1.5 million euros to help the victims of the Mount Merapi volcano and the tsunami that struck the remote Mentawai islands off the coast of Indonesian Sumatra on Monday 25 October 2010. The funds were to be provided to assist the 65,000 people in Mentawai and at least 22,000 people in Yogyakarta in Central Java. “Humanitarian partners will use these funds to provide water and sanitation to victims; access to primary health care and disease control; food and nonfood items; emergency telecommunications, emergency shelter; psychological support; logistics and will mainstream disaster preparedness” according to a European Commission announcement.[40][41]
  • Japan Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara sent messages to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa expressing their condolences and sympathy.[42][43]
  • Philippines Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, who was in Hanoi, Vietnam to attend the 17th ASEAN Summit, has directed his department to get ready to provide Indonesia with assistance. The Philippines Embassy in Jakarta said in a statement that “The [Philippines] Embassy …stands ready to provide assistance, if needed,” adding all Filipinos in Indonesia are safe.[44]
  • Portugal Portuguese President Cavaco Silva sent his Indonesian counterpart a letter of condolences. He expressed his and Portugal’s support for the country in such troubling times.
  • United States United States The US ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel announced his governments desire to grant US$2 million toward the humanitarian relief efforts in Indonesia. President Barack Obama said in a statement: “Michelle and I are deeply saddened by the loss of life, injuries, and damage that have occurred as a result of the recent earthquake and tsunami in West Sumatra. At the same time, I am heartened and encouraged by the remarkable resiliency of the Indonesian people and the commitment of their Government to rapidly assist the victims. As a friend of Indonesia, the United States stands ready to help in any way. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with the Indonesian people and all those affected by this tragedy.”
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Comments
10 Responses to “Vulcano/Mount Merapi 2010 Eruption”
  1. reginaadonna says:

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    Matthew 10:34 “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    Exodus 15:3 “The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is His name.”

    “There will be no peace on Earth until My Son’s Kingdom. I will crush every kingdom now standing and rock the earth off its foundation. I Yahweh will destroy every enemy to My throne, and who can stop Me? Who can turn back My anger? No one.” – Yahweh

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