Indonesian volcano churns out fresh clouds of ash, lava

by Jeremy

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — A volcanic eruption on Indonesia’s turbulent Mount Merapi churned and boiled Monday, sending renewed flows of lava and hot ash down its slopes for a second day.

Pyroclastic flows — avalanches of rocks, ash, and volcanic gasses — burst from the mountain’s actively growing lava dome inside the crater.

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The 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) peak is near Yogyakarta, an ancient city of several hundred thousand people embedded in a large metro area on the island of Java. The city is also a center of Javanese culture and a seat of royal dynasties going back centuries.

Mount Merapi’s last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people. Villagers living on Merapi’s fertile slopes were advised to stay 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) away from the crater’s mouth.

Hanik Humaida, the head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center, said the lava dome had been partially collapsing since Sunday when the latest eruption began. The initial blast sent hot ash 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) into the atmosphere.

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