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Mount Merapi

Merapi, July 2005
Elevation 2,968 m (9,738 ft) [1]
Listing Ribu
Translation Mountain of Fire (Indonesian)
Location Border of Central Java / Yogyakarta (Indonesia)
Coordinates 7°32′26.99″S 110°26′41.34″E / 7.5408306°S 110.4448167°E / -7.5408306; 110.4448167Coordinates: 7°32′26.99″S 110°26′41.34″E / 7.5408306°S 110.4448167°E / -7.5408306; 110.4448167
Type Stratovolcano
Age of rock 400,000 years
Last eruption 2008[1]

Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi, is a conical volcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. It is very close to the city of Yogyakarta, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1700 m above sea level.

Although smoke can be seen emerging from the mountain top at least 300 days a year, several eruptions have caused fatalities. Hot gas from a large explosion killed 64 people on November 22 in 1994, mostly in the town of Muntilan, west of the volcano[citation needed]. Another large eruption occurred in 2006, shortly before the Yogyakarta earthquake. In light of the hazards that Merapi poses to populated areas, it has been designated as one of the Decade Volcanoes.

An area of 64 km² of the mountain has been declared a national park in 2004.[2]


Geological history

Merapi before 2007 eruption.

Merapi is the youngest in a group of volcanoes in southern Java. It is situated at a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian Plate is sliding beneath the Eurasian Plate. It is one of at least 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire – a section of fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and South East Asia.[3] Stratigraphic analysis reveals that eruptions in the Merapi area began about 400,000 years ago, and from then until about 10,073 years ago, eruptions were typically effusive, and the outflowing lava emitted was basaltic. Since then, eruptions have become more explosive, with viscous andesitic lavas often generating lava domes. Dome collapse has often generated pyroclastic flows, and larger explosions, which have resulted in eruption columns, have also generated pyroclastic flows through column collapse.

Merapi in 1930

There has been no late eruption. Typically, small eruptions occur every two to three years, and larger ones every 10–15 years or so. Notable eruptions, often causing many deaths, have occurred in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872, and 1930—when thirteen villages were destroyed and 1400 people killed by pyroclastic flows.

A very large eruption in 1006 is claimed to have covered all of central Java with ash. The volcanic devastation is claimed to have led to the collapse of the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram, however there is insufficient evidence from that era for this to be substantiated.

Merapi continues hold particular significance for the Javanese: it is one of four places where officials from the royal palaces of Yogyakarta and Solo make annual offerings to placate the ancient Javanese spirits.[4]

2006 eruption

Pyroclastic flows (2006)

In April 2006, increased seismicity at more regular intervals and a detected bulge in the volcano's cone indicated that fresh eruptions were imminent. Authorities put the volcano's neighboring villages on high alert and local residents prepared for a likely evacuation. On April 19 smoke from the crater reached a height of 400 meters, compared to 75 metres the previous day. On April 23, after nine surface tremors and some 156 multifaced quakes signalled movements of magma, some 600 elderly and infant residents of the slopes were evacuated.[5]

By early May, active lava flows had begun. On May 11, with lava flow beginning to be constant, some 17,000 people were ordered to be evacuated from the area[6] and on May 13, Indonesian authorities raised the alert status to the highest level, ordering the immediate evacuation of all residents on the mountain.[7] Many villagers defied the dangers posed by the volcano and returned to their villages, fearing that their livestock and crops would be vulnerable to theft.[8] Activity calmed by the middle of May.[9]

On May 27, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck roughly 30 miles southwest of Merapi, killing at least 5,000 and leaving at least 200,000 people homeless in the Yogyakarta region, heightening fears that Merapi will "blow".[10] The quake did not appear to be a long-period oscillation, a seismic disturbance class that is increasingly associated with major volcanic eruptions. A further 11,000 villagers were evacuated on June 6 as lava and superheated clouds of gas poured repeatedly down its upper slopes.[11] The pyroclastic flows are known locally as "wedhus gembel" (Javanese for "shaggy goat").


Merapi Volcano January 27, 2007.
Merapi next to Merbabu January 9, 2008

Mount Merapi is the site of a very active volcano monitoring program. Seismic monitoring began in 1924, with some of the volcano monitoring stations lasting until the present. The Babadan (north west location), Selo (in the saddle between Merbabu and Merapi), and Plawangan monitoring stations have been updated with equipment over the decades since establishment. During the 1950s and early 1960s some of the stations were starved of equipment and funds, but after the 1970s considerable improvement occurred with the supply of new equipment. Some of the pre-1930 observation posts were destroyed by the 1930 eruption, and newer posts were re-located. Similarly after the 1994 eruption, the Plawangan post and equipment were moved into Kaliurang as a response to the threat of danger to the Volcanological personnel at the higher point.

The eruption of 1930 was found to have been preceded by a large earthquake swarm. The network of 8 seismographs currently around the volcano allow volcanologists to accurately pinpoint the hypocentres of tremors and quakes.

A zone in which no quakes originate is found about 1.5 km below the summit, and is thought to be the location of the magma reservoir which feeds the eruptions.

Other measurements taken on the volcano include magnetic measurements and tilt measurements. Small changes in the local magnetic field have been found to coincide with eruptions, and tilt measurements reveal the inflation of the volcano caused when the magma chambers beneath it is filling up.

Lahars (a type of mudflow of pyroclastic material and water) are an important hazard on the mountain, and are caused by rain remobilizing pyroclastic flow deposits. Lahars can be detected seismically, as they cause a high-frequency seismic signal. Observations have found that about 50 mm of rain per hour is the threshold above which lahars are often generated.


To keep the volcano quiet, the Javanese regularly bring offerings on the anniversary of the sultan of Yogyakarta's coronation.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Merapi". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. 
  2. ^ Lestari Hutan Indonesia, retrieved 26 February 2010
  3. ^ Merapi villagers defy orders to leave homes: The Straits Times
  4. ^ Radio New Zealand news report, 23 April 2006
  5. ^ Mail & Guardian online, 23 April 2006
  6. ^ Lava flows from Indonesia volcano. BBC News, May 4, 2006 URL Accessed 2006-05-13
  7. ^ Red alert for Indonesia volcano. BBC News, May 13, 2006 URL Accessed 2006-05-13
  8. ^ Merapi villages defy orders to leave homes: The Straits Times
  9. ^ Java volcano activity quietens – BBC News, 16 May 2006
  10. ^ Earthquake Leaves Thousands Dead in Indonesia, NY Times, 27 May 2006 URL Accessed 2006-05-27
  11. ^ [1],, 6 June 2006 URL Accessed 2006-06-06
  12. ^ Mount Tourism - Mount Merapi. Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 2008. 

Further reading

  • Camus G, Gourgaud A, Mossand-Berthommier P-C, Vincent P-M, 2000. Merapi (central Java, Indonesia): an outline of the structural and magmatological evolution, with a special emphasis to the major pyroclastic events. J Volc Geotherm Res, 100: 139-163
  • Charbonnier S J, Gertisser R, 2008. Field observations and surface characteristics of pristine block-and-ash flow deposits from the 2006 eruption of Merapi volcano, Java, Indonesia. J Volc Geotherm Res, 177: 971-982
  • Gertisser R, Keller J, 2003. Temporal variations in magma composition at Merapi volcano (Central Java, Indonesia): magmatic cycles during the past 2000 years of explosive activity. J Volc Geotherm Res, 123: 1-23
  • Lavigne F, Thouret J C, Voight B, Suwa H, Sumaryono A, 2000. Lahars at Merapi volcano, central Java: an overview. J Volc Geotherm Res, 100: 423-456
  • Newhall C G, Bronto S, Alloway B, Banks N G, Bahar I, del Marmol M A, Hadisantono R D, Holcomb R T, McGeehin J, Miksic J N, Rubin M, Sayudi S D, Sukhyar R, Andreastuti S, Tilling R I, Torley R, Trimble D, Wirakusumah A D, 2000. 10,000 years of explosive eruptions of Merapi volcano, central Java: archaeological and modern implications. J Volc Geotherm Res, 100: 9-50
  • Siswowidjoyo S, Suryo I, Yokoyama I, 1995. Magma eruption rates of Merapi volcano, Central Java, Indonesia during one century (1890–1992). Bull Volc, 57: 111-116

Micheal Jackson

at Merapi volcano, central Java. J Volc Geotherm Res, 100: 479-502
  • Triyoga, Lucas Sasongko. 1991 Manusia Jawa dan Gunung Merapi – Persepsi dan Sistem Kepercayaannya Yogyakarta, Gadjah Mada Universsity Press. ISBN 979-420-211-8
  • Voight B, Constantine E K, Siswowidjoyo S, Torley R, 2000. Historical eruptions of Merapi volcano, central Java, Indonesia, 1768-1998. J Volc Geotherm Res, 100: 69-138
  • Wirakusumah A D, Juwarna H, Loebis H, 1989. Geologic map of Merapi volcano, Central Java. Volc Surv Indonesia, 1:50,000 geol map

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mount Merapi (Gunung Merapi, 2911m) is a mountain in Central Java, looming over the cities of Yogyakarta and Solo (Surakarta).


At the moment Mt. Merapi is safe to climb, but do it with a qualified guide.

Literally "Mountain of Fire", Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in all Indonesia — no mean feat — and has erupted 68 times since 1548. A massive eruption in 1006 covered much of Java in ash and was largely responsible for the downfall of the Hindu Mataram kingdom. The eruption in 1994 killed 43 people.

Get in

Village Selo is the last village on your way to Merapi. A taxi from JogJakarta Airport to Selo and back will cost you around 70USD. Most of the drivers will happily to wait for you while you climb Merapi and will take you back to your hotel.

Selo has a group of local guides who will take you to Merapi.

  • M. Soni PR tel. +62-81-329-287256, +62-81-567-792923 email who claims to be the president of the guide's association willorganise the guide for you. During the season (May-July), a guide will cost around USD30 and USD 20 during the rest of the season. One guide is good for a group of 5. Tips are expected in addition.

In October 2009, Sony asks 600.000Rp for the Airport-Selo-Yogyakarta transfer, and 300.000Rp for the guide in Selo.

Another option is Kartika Trekking in Yogyakarta (Jl. Sosrowijayan 8, Yogyakarta 55271), offering transport+climb for 200.000Rp per person for groups from 3 people. Mobile +6285643440644, Landline +62274562016 (apparently enver picked up).

Get around

there are bikes which help you but do makwe sure to bring enough water


Nearby temples of Borobudur listed under Unesco World Heritage sites are a must see.

Another option is Dieng Plateau, a site of nearly 400 temples most of which lie in ruins now.


Trekking on and around Merapi is a popular activity (at least when the volcano isn't spewing out hot gas and ash). From Selo, the nearest village on the north slope, it's only a 3-hour hike to the summit for healthy. For the rest it will take 4 hours to climb and nearly the same time while coming back.

Carry small snack like sandwich and at least 2 lilters of water per person.

Most of the climbers start the climb at 1:00 AM in the night to be able to reach mountain top by sunrise. This is good as the Merapi has no trees and day time climbing can be very tiring and dehydrating. Carry good flashlights. These can also be purchased at the Selo Village.


A signboard at the entrance of the Merapi Plateau reads

"Leave nothing but track, carry nothing but photographs"

We recomend that you carry good memories and few pebbles and stones from the crater. The beautiful pick, green and yellow stones in a glass jar will make for an exceptional souvenir brought at no cost at all.


Not many options to eat exist in or around Selo. Local food stall offer the basic tea and local food items. Plenty of such stall can be found in Selo.


Nothing except the local stuff. Carry your own bottles.


Ratri Guest House is a offers very basic but neat and clean rooms and beds. tel. +62-81-329-287256, +62-81-567-792923 email sonyria@yahoo.

You can carry your sleeping bags and tents if you wish to sleep in the mountains.

Get out

Nearby temples of Borobudur and Prambhnan at a drive of 2 hours make for an excellent trip. Jogjakarta is the old historical town and can be reached in two hours or drive further to Dieng Plateu, where some older temples still exist.

For more adventure plan another climb to Mount Bromo to see another live volcano

Once back, take a ferry from Bromo to Bali for a relaxed time on sun soaked beaches.

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Simple English

File:Mount Merapi
Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi (Gunung Merapi in Indonesian) is a volcano in Indonesia. It is located on the island of Java. It is conical in shape. It is the most active volcano of Indonesia. In Indonesian, the name means mountain of fire. The volcano has erupted (spewn fire,gases and ash) 68 times, since 1548. Many people have died during its eruptions.

2006 eruption

As of March 2006, scientists say that there may be another large eruption soon. An earthquake occurred in that region on May 27, 2006. So far, up to 5,000 people are believed to have died in the earthquake. 20,000 are reported to be wounded.[1]

2010 eruption

On 25 October 2010 the Indonesian government warned villagers living near the mountain to move to safer ground. Officials said hundreds of volcanic earthquakes had been recorded on the mountain over the weekend of 23–24 October, and that the magma had risen to about 1 kilometre (3,300 ft) below the surface due to the seismic activity. People living within a 20 km (12.5 mile) zone were told they must leave.

On the afternoon of 25 October 2010 lava erupted from the southern and south-eastern slopes of Mount Merapi. Many more followed over the next two weeks. There were also pyroclastic flows.

The Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency said on 11 November that since the first eruption on October 26, at least 194 people had died, three quarters of those from searing heat blasts during the biggest eruptions and included deaths from breathing problems, heart attacks and other illnesses related to the eruptions.[2]

After the recovery of more bodies, an official in disaster management said the death toll reached 273 up to 18 November.[3]


bjn:Gunung Merapi

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