Merapi Volcano Threat Downgraded, Cold Lava Still a Worry

By Wayan Adi
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 6, 2010 Last Updated: March 14, 2012
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Mount Merapi erupting as farmer works in the rice fields. (By: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Mount Merapi erupting as farmer works in the rice fields. (By: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

YOGYKARTA, Indonesia—The status of Mount Merapi Volcano was downgraded from alert to standby by the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation.

"Based on instrumental and visual observations, the activity of the mountain shows a tendency to decrease and was reduced to standby status," said chief PVMBG, Surono said late last week.

However, Surono requested a permanent increase in awareness among locals.

"People should not be complacent even though the status of Mount Merapi has been reduced. … Hot and cold lava flows are still a threat," Surono told reporters in Yogyakarta last Friday.

Surono asked the community to remain cautious of the threat from hot clouds and cold lava flows emptying into several rivers in the upper peak of Mount Merapi, especially during the current rainy season.

"Therefore, in the river early flood warning devices are being fitted into the cold lava that can detect if there is flooding," said Surono. The early warning tool is capable of sending SMS warning messages.

"However, the short message will only be sent to stakeholders including Merapi disaster response officials and mayors," he said.

The secondary danger posed by the possibility of cold lava floods is no less severe than the original eruptions. The volcano produced about 5.3 billion cubic feet of volcanic material.

Mount Merapi, Indonesia's most active volcano, began erupting on Oct. 26 spewing ash, gas, and lava.


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