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Merapi erupts on a tragic day for Indonesia

The signs were all there that Merapi was headed towards a new eruptive phase and today at ~6 PM (local time in Indonesia), Merapi erupted. This is a double (possibly triple) whammy for Indonesia that is suffering after a M7.7 earthquake off Sumatra that generated a tsunami as well. The Indonesia government has their work cut out for them as they try to evacuate over 50,000 people from the slopes and nearby region around Merapi.

The eruption of Merapi today produced three large explosions and an eruption column that has reached at like 1,500 meters / 5,000 feet. Volcanologists in the area seem to think this means that juvenile material (new magma) has made it to the surface and the eruption has begun. Suruno from the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency has already called the explosions that have occurred as bigger than anything that happened during the 2006 eruption of the volcano. There have been no reports of fatalities in this new eruption, but there are some injuries due to ash fall.

Information out of Indonesia is going to be slow today with the widespread damage from the earthquake near Sumatra and the eruption at Merapi. I'll keep posting updates as the day goes on - but feel free to leave comments or links below. You can try the Merapi webcam, but at the time of writing, it appears to be down.

UPDATES:

UPDATE 10/27: New post to try to help comments to work again - head over there!

{Special thanks to the ever-diligent Eruptions readers for some of these links!}

Top left: The summit area of Merapi on Monday before the new eruption began.

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