The Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) has raised the alert status of Mount Merapi in Magelang, Central Java, from normal to caution, the third-highest level.
The center increased the status at 11 p.m. on Monday after a string of phreatic eruptions, followed by tectonic earthquakes.
Authorities called on residents to prepare for evacuations and asked visitors, including hikers, to stay away from areas possibly affected by Merapi’s volcanic activities.
“People must empty and avoid any activity within a 3-kilometer radius of Merapi’s peak,” Research and Technological Development for Geological Disaster Agency (BPPTKG) head Hanik Humaida said on Monday evening.
Any activity around the crater, including hiking, must be avoided except for volcanic investigation, Hanik said.
PVMBG recorded four phreatic eruptions since Monday morning.
The increasing volcanic activity started on Monday morning around 1:25 a.m. when a phreatic eruption occurred lasting 19 minutes, spewing volcanic ash as high as 700 meters into the sky.
Six hours later, at 9:38 a.m. another phreatic eruption occurred, spewing volcanic ash that reached up to 1,200 meters.
Another one occurred around 5:50 p.m. lasting three minutes. The fourth one spewed at 1:47 a.m. on Tuesday morning for three minutes and reached 3,500 meters. There have been 10 phreatic eruptions at Mt. Merapi since 2010. (ebf)