Merapi Update for 11/8/2010: Death toll climbs as activity calms

A quick update on the ongoing eruption at Merapi in Indonesia - the death toll has now reached at least 141 since the eruption started on October 26th. This number is likely a low estimate as officials in Indonesia think that people are buried in the thick ash and mud deposits from pyroclastic flows and lahars that have come from the volcano. The bodies found so far have been buried in mass graves to help prevent the spread of disease. All in all, it is very grim news from the area around Merapi. Multiple relief organization have now set up camps/stations near Merapi, including the Red Crescent from the UAE, medical students from Malaysia and the Indonesian Red Crescent/Cross (incidently, their uniforms are marked "PMI", not to be confused with Phillip Morris Inc. - and concerning the "controversy" about Phillip Morris helping with the relief effort, well, I am not wading into that nonsense.) Eruptions reader Diane also pointed out the two pamphlets for the public (on 'Preparedness, before, during and after ashfall' and on 'The health hazards of volcanic ash') that have been translated into Bahasa Indonesia by the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (who is also looking for ash samples from Merapi). Over 270,000 people have evacuated due to the activity at Merapi.


The ash from the eruption is still causing problems at Yogjakarta, where flights have been intermittently cancelled. However, flights in and out of Jakarta have resumed after some cancellations over the weekend - and US President Barack Obama will continue with his visit to Indonesia this week. The eruptive plume reported today seems to be smaller than late last week, topping at 1 km / 3,000 feet and much of the recent ash is below 25,000 feet. However, a significant amount of Merapi ash has drifted over the Indian Ocean to over 40,000 feet. Officials from the Volcanology Center in Indonesia are still concerned (Indonesian) with pyroclastic flows and lahars being generated and funneled towards populated areas.

Trees flattened by pyroclastic flows generated during the 2010 eruption of Merapi.

If you want to see the results of this new eruptive period at Merapi, you should check out the collection of images from Boston.com - however, many images are graphic, so be forewarned. However, some are remarkable, showing the strombolian eruptions within the crater (see top left) that are generating the lava domes that have periodically collapsed to generate pyroclastic flows and (when mixing with river water in the drainages) lahars. A few of the images are very similar to images of Mt. Saint Helens in 1980, show the power of the pyroclastic flows to flatten entire forests (see above).

Top left: The crater area of Merapi, taken on November 3, 2010. See the original image here.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

The dos and don’ts of helping a drug-addicted person recover

How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.

Videos
  • Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
  • Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
  • As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
Keep reading Show less

Neuroscience confirms your subconscious shapes your reality

Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized.

Technology & Innovation

Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized: that what we believe to be the objective reality surrounding us is actually formed by our subconscious. David Eagleman explains:

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less