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Merapi Volcano - Indonesia

July 2008

  • Merapi volcano lies in a very populated part of Java, not far from the city of Yogyakarta. When it erupts, it tends to produce large pyroclastic flows of ash, hot gas and rocks that flows like a liquid down the steep sides of the volcano. A series of eruptions in 2006 killed two and caused damage to villages at the base of the mountain. The summit elevation is 2,914 meters (9,560 ft)
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    Merapi volcano venting in the distance.

    A closer view of the summit.

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    Destruction left behind after the series of eruptions in 2006 that brought pyroclastic flows up to 7 km down the mountainside.

    A gutted building half buried by pyroclastic deposits of ash and rock.

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    Two volunteer observers took shelter in this bunker when a large pyroclastic flow overran the area. Both men died and the entrance had to be dug out with heavy machinery. It's uncertain how long they survived in the intense heat inside.

    The bunker would've been safe if it had just been buried under ash and volcanic gasses but the entire area was also covered in rocks and even large boulders.

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    Researchers using ground penetrating radar to measure the depth of the deposits. In some places it was four meters thick.

    The Radar screen showing the different layers below the surface. Studying the previous eruption can help predict the behavior of the volcano in the future.