Gemma Holliani Cahya
An eruption rocked Mount Merapi volcano, which stands on the border of Yogyakarta and Central Java, at 5:16 a.m. on Thursday morning.
“The eruption lasted 150 seconds, spewing smoke and 2,000-meter-high ash column,” National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Agus Wibowo said in a statement on Thursday.
He added that during the eruption, the wind was blowing in a northwest direction, according to the Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG).
In a separate statement, BPPTKG head Hanik Humaida said the eruption spewed volcanic material over a radius of 1 kilometer from Merapi’s peak. It also brought ash rain down on several villages located 10 km south of the volcano.
The BPPTKG added that Mount Merapi had erupted four times between September and November 2019, followed by volcanic earthquakes occurring at a depth of more than 1.5 km.
“There has been an increase in Merapi’s volcanic activity from mid-December 2019 to mid-January this year, both under and on the ground,” Hanik said in the statement. “Similar eruptions can still happen in the future as an indicator that the magma chamber is still supplying magma.”
Mount Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. An eruption in 2010 left more than 300 people dead and forced almost 400,000 people to take refuge. Authorities have raised Merapi’s alert level to waspada (caution), the second-highest level in the country’s four-tiered alert system.
The Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has advised residents and tourists to stay outside a 3-km radius of the peak of Merapi to avoid any possible danger.