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Merapi Update for 10/25/2010: Thousands evacuated near the volcano

Many Eruptions readers have been keeping a very close eye on the events at Merapi in Indonesia - you should check out their discussion. The situation at the volcano is becoming more and more volatile (no pun intended) as the volcano shows definite signs of an impending eruption (video in this link). Now, exactly what will be produced in the eruption - lava flows, dome collapse, pyroclastic flows - is still unknown, but all precautions are being made by the Indonesia government.

The latest reports I have read for the activity at Merapi suggest that lava has reached the surface at the summit crater area. The lava is currently on the southern and southeastern slopes of the volcano. The cloudy weather has prevent much in the way of direct observation of the eruptions, but at least three explosions have accompanied the lava flows. There are also reports of incandescent blocks (indonesian) being thrown from the crater. This action has prompted the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Agency to place Merapi on its highest alert for volcanoes, which means the government will begin to evacuate thousands of people (video on this link) living near the volcano - within a 10 km radius of the crater. This could mean upwards of 40,000 people will need to be evacuated. There is a fear that a larger explosion is in the works as the volcano is showing significant deformation that might imply volatiles building up in the edifice - a precursor to an explosive eruption.

More details as they arrive ... but you can watch the Merapi webcams (click on the icons on the map) to see what is happening (if the clouds don't get in the way).

{Special thanks to all the Eruptions readers for links used in this article}

Top left: Steaming Mt. Merapi in Indonesia.

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