KEY POINTS

  • Indonesia's Mount Merapi erupted twice on Sunday
  • The eruptions produced towering plumes of ash
  • A restricted area was established around the volcano's crater

Indonesia’s most volatile volcano, Mount Merapi, erupted twice on Sunday morning (June 21). According to local reports, the double eruptions sent giant plumes of ash into the sky.

Mount Merapi is an active stratovolcano that borders Central Java and the Special Region of Yogyakarta provinces in Indonesia. It has an elevation of about 2,910 meters.

On Sunday morning, residents of the areas surrounding the volcano were surprised to hear two powerful eruptions coming from the mountain. Local reports indicated that the two eruptions lasted for a total of seven minutes.

“The ash column was observed to be gray with a thick intensity leaning towards the west. This eruption was recorded on a seismogram with a maximum amplitude of 75 mm and a duration of ± 5 minutes 28 seconds,” Hanik Humanida, the head of the Yogyakarta Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center (BPPTKG) said in a statement, according to the Indonesia Expat.

Each of the eruptions produced towering ash clouds into the sky. The highest one reached a height of about 20,000 feet or six kilometers.

Due to the eruptions and the ash clouds, local authorities advised airlines to take special precautions when passing near the area. They also established a three-kilometer restricted zone around the crater of the volcano to ensure the safety of the public.

“The current danger is hot clouds rolling down from the peak and other volcanic material from an explosive eruption,” the BPPTKG stated on Sunday, according to the Jakarta Post.

Although Mount Merapi has been regularly showing signs of volcanic activity, its last major eruption happened in November 2010. According to reports, increasing patterns of seismic activity began in September of that year.

Due to a series of violent eruptions, over 300 people lost their lives. The disastrous event forced local authorities in the area to evacuate around 280,000 people from the regions surrounding Mount Merapi.

The incident in 2010 is considered as the most powerful event since the eruption in 1930. This eruption, which was preceded by a massive earthquake swarm, caused the deaths of about 1,300 people.  

mount merapi Mount Merapi, 2010 Photo: Hadi Susanto / EPA