Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupts again

November 2nd, 2010 - 2:33 am ICT by BNO News  

JOGJAKARTA, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — Indonesia’s Mount Merapi on Monday erupted again, spewing out thick black smoke as residents continue to evacuate the area, local media reported.

People began to panic in search of safer grounds, and ambulances monitored the area. Some residents had returned to check up and save their previously abandoned livestock and gather possessions, but the large eruption, which occurred at around 10 a.m. local time, seems to be stronger than previous ones.

Large superheated ash clouds were seen coming down the mountain for over 2 miles.

However, several residents refuse to evacuate and abandon their home and possessions, prompting military troops to forcibly take them to shelters and safer areas.

Jogjakarta’s Volcanic Investigation and Technology Development Center chief, Subandriyo, has stated that continuing eruptions are expected.

“This was smaller than some of the other eruptions. We’re expecting more to happen, but we don’t know yet if they’re going to get weaker or if a more explosive eruption could happen,” Subarndriyo said, who had previously said that their was still a considerable amount of magma pushing its way up the crater.

On Saturday morning, at around 1 a.m. local time, Merapi erupted for around 22 minutes sending heat clouds over the Krasak and Boyong rivers.

Sri Sumarti of the volcanic center said Saturday’s eruption shot heat clouds around 3.5 kilometers into the air, compared to the initial eruption’s clouds which reached 1.5 kilometers.

The eruption began at around 5.50 p.m. local time on Tuesday when three loud explosions rocked the mountain, spewing volcanic ashes into the sky. A day earlier, scientists had raised the alert level to its highest level after white clouds of smoke began pouring out of the mountain, signaling an imminent eruption.

The latest death toll has reached 38, while camps have reportedly reached 70,000 evacuees. Officials have maintained an exclusion zone of about six miles around the volcano while it is being monitored.

The last notable eruption occurred in 2006, when several people were killed. Before that, major eruptions took place in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872, and 1930. The 1930 eruption left at least 1,400 people killed.

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