Mount Merapi erupted on Sunday, spewing a 1,000m ash column. (Image via National Post)

Mount Merapi erupts, two villages covered in ashes

On Sunday, Mount Merapi, located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces, erupted at 10.46 a.m. local time spewing ashes 1,000m from the crater summit. Mount Merapi Observational Post Kaliurang confirmed the eruption.

The Research and Technological Development for Geological Disaster Agency (BPPTKG) in Yogyakarta, the eruption was measured by seismograph reaching a maximum amplitude of 70mm, and it lasted for 155 seconds. Avalanches also occurred for four times with amplitudes of 3 – 8mm and lasted for 18 – 23 seconds.

BPPTKG Yogyakarta set the status of Mount Merapi on “Level II”. In other words, the agency warned the locals and tourists to stay away from the active stratovolcano under a 3km radius.

Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) also warned about the lava flow that might occur following the eruption. While the 1,000m ash column will not disrupt any aviation activities, PVMBG suggested airlines be careful. PVMBG estimated that the ashes will not reach Adi Sucipto Airport because the wind will take it to the west direction.

With the eruption, comes thin ash rain. The ash rain covered two villages: Sumber and Keningar Villages, Magelang Regency. The villages are located 11 – 12km from Mount Merapi. The villagers said that the ash rain lasted for five minutes. Fortunately, the thin ash rain did not affect the locals significantly.

Some tourists on Ketep Hill, located about 6km from Mount Merapi, Magelang Regency, were lucky enough to witness the eruption.