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November 5, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Explosive Eruptions Continue at Gunung Merapi

It couldn’t get much worse in Indonesia today as the volcano at Mount Merapi continues to erupt in explosive and massive form. The stories covered by the media this morning are horrific in their detail. Despite massive evacuations over the past several days, too many people remain within the fiery reach of the eruption.

Bitter sweet: It's the fertile slopes due to previous eruptions that draw villagers and farmers well within the danger zone of Mount Merapi. Photo: Wikipedia.

Yahoo News has posted amazing and heartbreaking pictures from the disaster zone.

Mount Merapi, the "Mountain of Fire," in 1930. Photo: Wikipedia.

Vulcanologists are reporting this to be the largest eruption since the massive eruption of 1872, though there have been notable eruptions dating back to 1006. Mount Merapi is a stratovolcano which, unlike a strombolian-type volcano, is characterized by explosive eruptions with ash plumes reaching well above 30,000 feet. Already ash is coating car windshields 300 miles away from the crater.

This most recent eruptive event began with three explosive eruptions on October 25. Additional eruptions continued on 10/26, 10/29, 10/30 and a near-continuous 24-hour eruption that began on 11/03 continued into 11/04. It’s the eruptions of today that are being classified as the largest and most explosive since the eruptions of 1872.

Mount Merapi is considered an active volcano. It has had an active past and is considered the most active volcano in Indonesia.

Indonesia is a hot zone for volcanoes. Image: Wikipedia.

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