Indonesia's Mount Merapi spews ash columns and lava

Local media reported Mount Merapi spewed ash columns up to 3,000 metres into the sky over the weekend. PHOTO: NABILAH Z. JAMARI

JAKARTA (DPA) - Mount Merapi by Indonesia's cultural capital of Yogyakarta spewed ash columns up to 3,000m into the sky over the weekend, local media reported on Sunday (June 2).

Indonesia's Geological Disaster Research and Development Centre said that by last Saturday, the country's most active volcano had emitted 72 ash columns from its crater since it started showing signs of forming ash columns and spewing incandescent lava in late January, state news agency Antara reported.

Agency head Hanik Humaida said that - based on the ash-column activity - the volcano's lava dome could potentially cause a lava avalanche of 458,000 cubic metres in volume that would move up to 3km from the crater towards the river Gendol.

The agency also reported multiphase and low frequency tremors occurring at the crater of the volcano, which is a popular hiking spot on the border of Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces.

"Based on those volcanic activities, the volcano status remains on caution alert level. A 3km-radius exclusion zone from the crater remains in place and tourist objects outside the exclusion zone are safe for tourists to visit," Humaida said.

The 2,968m-high Merapi's last deadly eruption was in 2010, and its last major eruption which caused people within a 5km radius to vacate the area and Yogyakarta's airport to close was in 2018.

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