Indonesia volcano
A view of Mount Merapi following a phreatic eruption as seen from Donoharjo village, near Yogyakarta, on the island of Java, Indonesia, May 11, 2018. Dwi Oblo / REUTERS

The Mount Merapi Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, erupted Friday forcing the residents to evacuate. The volcano erupted at 7.30 a.m. local time (8:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday) accompanied by a rumbling sound and expelled 5,500-metre high column of ash, forcing the main airport in Yogyakarta province to shut down for 28 minutes.

"The impact of Mt. Merapi's eruption on Adisutjipto Airport in Yogyakarta, has forced us to close the airport from 11.25 a.m. for another 30 minutes," said Israwadi, corporate secretary of state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura I, reported Jakarta Globe.

Nearby airports in Solo and Semarang operated normally.

“Flights are running normally. We haven’t received any orders to close the airport. There are no flight diversions either,” said Kukuh, an official at Adi Soemarmo International Airport, reported Jakarta Post.

Disaster mitigation officials have called it a phreatic eruption which is caused due to heating and expansion of groundwater. The disaster mitigation officials are yet to comment on injuries and damages. The eruption has affected the residents of Yogyakarta and Central Java and the officials have called on residents to remain calm.

“Volcanic ash rain has occurred in Tugu Kaliurang and is forecast to persist in the south of the crater. To prevent the risks especially, the local officials have distributed mask,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a national disaster management agency spokesman, reported Business Standard.

"Local disaster agency has instructed the villagers living in the radius 5 km from the crater to evacuate immediately," he added and also confirmed the current status of the mountain to be normal.

The agency has however declared a 3km no-go zone.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has not detected any increase in volcanic activities or further volcanic eruptions from Mount Merapi. The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (PVMBG) is monitoring the development of volcanic activity and does not raise the alert status of the mountain.

The volcanic eruptions also caused tremors in surrounding cities, including Boyolali, Surakarta, and Klaten.

Indonesia, an extensive group of islands, is prone to regular volcanic activities and earthquakes as it sits along the ring of fire.

Mt. Merapi is one of the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia and is located in the borders of Klaten, Magelang and Boyolali districts in Java Island. The volcano has regularly erupted since 1948. Pyroclastic flow due to a large explosion in 1994 killed 27 people and a series of eruptions in 2010 killed more than 350, injuring dozens more.

A similar situation took place when, Mount Sinabung, located in Sumatra island erupted in December last year. Volcanic ash and smoke spewed from caters forcing the residents living around the volcano to vacate. The ash, however, was sent to almost 5 km down its slopes and fell on several villages around the mountain.