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Hot Merapi!

Gunung Merapi: The fatal 2010 eruption.

A film documentation had been done! It was geologicaly still very interesting at Merapi after the Nov., 5th eruption. But most emotional to us were the many tragedies, caused by this relatively short fatal eruption period. By C. Weber (c)VHDL.
Merapi 2010 (c)VHDL Merapi 2010 (c)VHDL Merapi 2010 (c)VHDL
"Beauty and beast!" It looks so nice but it can be so deadly - the 2911 m high towering strato volcano Gunung Merapi near the city of Yogja, Java.

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An evacuation zone of 20 km had been set into midd of November. Neverless, the ash eruptions and it's fall out caused demages to vegetation and crops far beyond.

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Data recording and analysis of the MVO (Merapi Volcanic Observatory) was very importand and efficient to manage the hazards. The refugees had to stand this out at many evacuation camps around the volcano. Local authorities were present and doing quite well to solve most of the problems.

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But before that, the devastated PF (pyroclastic flow) of November, 26th, took it's victimes with an undiscribable martyrium.

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Victims and friends of VHDL members of the November, 26th PF. The 6 images above were taken by (c)Hari on a nighly rescue task.

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We talked to Mr. Sabari (his name means hope) in a hospital in Yogja. He had been into the 5th Nov. PF and survived with "only" 18 degrees burnings. His wife and half of his family died in the PF and afterwords. The rest of his family (daughters) were in hospital next door with 50 degrees burnings, so on the way to die. Many of his neighbours died and he want retourn to his former home ever, he said. We donated some money for him, the only thing we could do. Next image shows an evacuation force camp and the penetration of the devasted area at Kaliadem by 4x4.

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Kaliadem, around 5 km south of Merapis crater, was devastated by PF's. To enter this area was only possible with having radio contact to the MVO and the live seismic situation. PF's hazard was still relevant. We made our way through a stripe of death, thanks to our local crew of Andi and Dasirun. Andy (with red helmet) for example, had lost some friends at Merapi and caried victims out of the danger areas by hand in the night of 5th Nov, risking his own life. He is a hero to me.

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Beside preasure, a PF has easyly more than 500 degrees celsius and burns whatever is in it's way; many animals had died an ugly death in the PF's travelling as far as 20 km down the canyons. In some manners, PF's behave like a liquide rather than a fluffy cloud.

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Many villages simply do not exist anymore. Even to find ''next door'' is difficult. No matter what rescue forces find on it's way, it looks and smells terrible.

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On the most upper villages (5 km from the summit), PF's had a powerfull force. Through the river beds PF's made their way as far as 20 km from the summit. At those positions, they were still burning hot and devastating. We measured 220 degrees celsius 10 cm deep inside the ash layer, 10 days after a PF had come this far down.

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The village of Gadingan was not severely demaged, but still a place with no escape on Nov, 5th.

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Rescue took place day by day, where ever it was safe from new volcanic events to come. To enter some areas was difficult because of many fallen trees and other blockades. Rescuer search for victims who had been trapped and burried in their car, what eyevitnesses had reported to the authorities.

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On the west side of the volcano, ash fall out had caused many problems. The traffic got interfered sometimes and most of the vegetation, as well as electrical wires had collapsed under the ash layer.

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The ongoing eruption brought more trouble from the sky. The andesitic pyroclastit is between 2 and 3 times havyer than water. The so called spacitfic gravity. If this pyroclastit (ash) sticks on house roofs or plants in a certain layer or ammount, it will make it collaps sooner or later, specially when water gets added by rain.

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A very common hazard during an eruption or even as a post volcanic phenomena are Lahars. Some valleys were quickly filled up by Lahar doposit and many bridges were damaged. Even at that time people worked inside the river valleys. Lahar protection sytems along the riverrs did first what they were good for, but could not stand against this threat at all places. We saw one Lahar making its way through the river bed of Kali Krasak. Nothing seams to stop a Lahar and it was amazing to see, how big bolders were easyly carried inside a Lahar.

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A Lahar was arriving on the spot and filled up the river bed with rumbeling noises.

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Another sequence shows the transportation of big rocks and bolders.

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From the safe side of Merapi we took the chance after a close look on the seismic situation to hike up to the summit. Nobody knew how the eruption site had changed after the big explosions. Were there still a lava dom or more a crater? To solve this out was our goal and some hard work on it's way in a partly moon like landscape.

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1 and 3 images from Andi (c): Checking the situation at the crater rim. Obviously the dome had vanished. Descent through a PF flow on the north flank of the dome.

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Merapi kept the new situation of the crater as a secrete under an impenetrable cover of gas. The Azimuth team at the food of Merapis dome (c) Andi. On the way back down we realized were we had gone through during the night climb. An ashy labyrinth of broken trees.

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To inhalate volcanic fine pyroclatics is not adviseable, though it seemed imposssible to get around of it. The strongest trees bursted under the weight of this stony powder.

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The fields further down the slopes were packed in a mantle of cement, which is taking place as an interaction by acid volcanic ash an water. Only the acid contents can deforest the landscape.

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The village of Selo, north flank, had to fight the ash. On the west side of Merapi, the world heritage temple of Borobodur was covered by 2,5 cm of volcanic ash. The head of the conservation office Mr. Marsis Sutopo told us, that cleaning the tempel was about to cost some hundred thousand of USD and taking weeks to be done.

Finally, we are sorry for the brave folks and victims around Merapi. Our special thanks to our friend Andi Susanto Rosadi, Dasirun Baladraf, Hari, Mr. Sabari, Marsis Sutopo, Dr. Ing. Paulus Bawoke, Dr. Surono and Azimuth Travel.

Workshop 2006: Hazard and evacuation at Gunung Merapi, Java, Indonesia

Logo Kappala The NGO for volcanic disaster management (Indonesia) KAPPALA

Workshop (yearly) for VHDL members lead by Chris Weber during May 2006.
Research on hazards at dome type volcanoes during grows and activity. The PF's are to be documented for studies and volcanic risc management.

Addresses (links) for research are:

  • KAPPALA: NGO for volcanic disaster management (Indonesia) (http://www.kappalaindonesia.or.id)

  • Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (http://www.vsi.esdm.go.id)

  • Volcanic Observatory of VSI (http://www.vsi.dpe.go.id)

  • Information about Indonesia, (http://www.infoindonesie.com)

  • Abstract:

    Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, lies in one of the world's most densely populated areas and dominates the landscape immediately north of the major city of Yogyakarta. Merapi is the youngest and southernmost of a volcanic chain extending NNW to Ungaran volcano. Growth of Old Merapi volcano beginning during the Pleistocene ended with major edifice collapse perhaps about 2000 years ago, leaving a large arcuate scarp cutting the eroded older Batulawang volcano. Subsequently growth of the steep-sided Young Merapi edifice, its upper part unvegetated due to frequent eruptive activity, began SW of the earlier collapse scarp. Pyroclastic flows and lahars accompanying growth and collapse of the steep-sided active summit lava dome have devastated cultivated lands on the volcano's western-to-southern flanks and caused many fatalities during historical time. The volcano is the object of extensive monitoring efforts by the Merapi Volcano Observatory of the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia. (GVN (c))

    Merapi earthquake Merapi
    images: The PF (Pyroclastic Flow) on 27th May 2006 at 6:00 hours, triggert by the earthquake (6,2 Richter scale) and a broken house at Yogya, Merapi incandescence and PF early morning on 28th May 2006.
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    images from the left: ; Valley at Kaliadem 27th May 2006; same view (position) after the 7 km long PF on 16th June which killed 2 locals; the same valley (position) after the devastating 2010 eruption.

    April/May/June 2006 HAZARDS NEWS:

    end of June,
    The alert level was reduced to 3.

    As of the 16th of June,
    a large PF goes along the river at Kaliadem and kills two locals who tried to hide in a bunker. Because they could not close the door of the bunker, hot gas burned them to death.

    27th of May,
    EARTHQUAKE (6,2 Richter).,
    at 5:57 local time an earthquake hit the city of Yogya and Gunung Merapi. Thousands of people could have been victims. So far the fragile erupting dome of Merapi did not show significant activity or collapses after the earthquake. Although some bigger PF's did occure.

    As of the 16th of May,
    the VGHM reported that spewing hot clouds of gas and bulging with lava, Mt. Merapi, one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, has rumbled to life, and a full-scale eruption is imminent, local officials warn. "The wait is on for larger events," says John Pallister, a geologist with the joint U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)-USAID Volcano Disaster Assistance Program. Now, the main concern is making sure that the local people living on the volcano's flanks are out of harm's way.

    As of the 4th of May, the Global Volcanism Network (GVN) reported that on 28 April, CVGHM observed a lava flow from Merapi traveling ~1.5 km SW to the Lamat River. On the 28th, seismicity was dominated by multiphase earthquakes. Signals from landslides, rockfalls, and low-frequency events were also recorded. According to news reports, around 27 April nearly 2,000 villagers were evacuated from Sidorejo and Tegalmulyo villages on the volcano's flanks. On the 27th, small amounts of ash fell in Gemer village about 5 km from Merapi's summit. Merapi remained at Alert Level 3 (on a scale of 1-4).

    24 April update - Based on the seismic record that indicated increased volcanic activity at Mt. Merapi, the Directorate of Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (12 Apr.) raised the level of alertness from level II to level III, which indicates that Mt. Merapi may erupt at any time. BPPTK reported their 18 Apr. observation of 113 multi phase tremors, 8 streams of lava, 7 volcanic tremors, with white and thick SO2 smoke of 400 m height from its crater. BPPTK confirmed (19 Apr.) that based on the scientific data, Mt. Merapi will most likely erupt. 2. BPPTK Yogyakarta encouraged communities not to conduct any activities in the river having its upper course at Mt. Merapi. BPPTK Yogyakarta has already developed four scenarios based on the direction of the lava in case an eruption occurs. The Government of Indonesia is working on the third case scenario, one level below the worst-case scenario, anticipating over 80,000 people to be displaced. Since several weeks the volcano was, also spewing smoke 250 m into the air, much higher than normal. Previous information of 21st of March 2006 reported that increasing seismicity at Merapi led CVGHM to raise the Alert Level from 1 to 2 (on a scale of 1-4) around 20 March. According to a news articles, small earthquakes were recorded at the volcano on 19 March and more than 200 were recorded during the week. Around 10,000 residents near the volcano were warned to prepare for possible evacuations if activity escalates. Reported by the SWVRC.

    KAPPALA Indonesia


    Area mamagement ase on disater risk management perspective for sustainable and dignity life.


    To know how people's survival in replublic disater of Indonesia!

    The geographical and geological condition demands, that Indonesian people have to survive faces with various disaster hazards. How to live together with disaster threat? It's an interesting thing to know. KAPPALA Indonesia forms an environmental organization, that is focusing on education and disaster risk reduction activity, invite all of you to see how Indonesian people adapt and live togehter with disater threat.
    We offer you to join with this alternative tourism in KAPPAL Indonesia version. We invite you to cleosely know about Mount Merapi people in life togehtere with eruption threat of its mountain, in Central Java and Yogyakarta. Beside that, there're many places we offer, where we can see nearness relation of human and nature in Indonesia. Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any interest to add your knowledge an experience about the other side of Indonesia.

    by Mr. Tatang and Sigit Widyanto (exec. director)

    Logo Kappala NGO for volcanic disaster management (Indonesia) (http://www.kappalaindonesia.or.id)

    Address: Jl. Parangtritis Gang Demarkasi No 17 B
    Yogjakarta, Java, Indonesia, (0274) 419605

    Email: kappalaindonesia@gmail.com

    Some important links:
    1. Another link to the GVN
    2. USGS, U.S. Geological Survey (Volcano Hazards Program)
    3. SWVRC Southwest Volcano Researh Centre (Volcano-News)
    4. SVE Societé Volcanologique Européeune (News)
    5. IAVCEI, International Association of Volcanology and Chemisry of Earth's Interior
    6. VAAC The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre
    7. SSEC Satellite images of volcanic areas

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