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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:

  • Here are some of the first images of the dark, billowing ash plume from the new eruption. 
  • You might also be able to get some information or images on this streaming Metro TV News feed.
  • Some more details on situation on the ground near the volcano.
  • And with all of these types of evacuations, some people are refusing to go (video).
  • The Darwin VAAC is report plume at FL600 – which I think is 60,000 feet / 18 km. I’ll try to get more information.
  • Sadly, there is one confirmed death by ash of an infant
  • Some reports from on the ground near Merapi – unfortunately both in Indonesian, but good images. Be sure to check out the reports from people in Indonesia below in the comments.
  • BBC has video of the eruption and the evacuation – worth watching, for sure. You can see the ash on some people. Also, a little bit more info here as well, this time in English.
  • The news gets worse: CBS and the USA Today are reporting that at least 18 people have died in the eruption.
  • 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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