Mount Merapi is an active volcano located in the province of Central Java, Indonesia, about 30 kilometers north of Yogyakarta city. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and also among the most widely studied volcanoes. Read on for more interesting facts about Mount Merapi.
Known as gunung merapi in Indonesia, Mount Merapi is a stratovolcano. Stratovolcano is a dangerous type of volcanoes that expel pyroclastic flows. Meaning, they expel lava, smoke, ash and dust at very high speeds.
“Merapi” means “mountain of fire”
Despite its dangerous nature, it is adorned for its natural beauty on its lower areas. Mount Merapi is 2,930 meter high. Although these measurements keep changing due to volcanic activity. It is among the 16 most studied volcanoes in the world.
Located on the subduction zone
A subduction zone is where a continental plate meets the oceanic plate. The material from which the plate is formed pushes the magma from the interior of the earth, and this causes a great pressure that forces it to ascend more and more, until the earth’s crust breaks and a volcano forms. Mount Merapi is located where the Indo-Australian Plate is subducting under the Sunda Plate.
Part of the ring of fire/ Pacific rim
The eruptive activity of Mount Merapi began about 400,000 years ago. It stands on the ring of fire where the Pacific oceanic plate meets the continental plate. The Pacific rim or the ring of fire measures about 40,000 kilometers and this is where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
68 eruptions since 1548
There are about 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, of which Mount Merapi is one. It has erupted over 68 times since the 16th century and there so far geologists have registered a total of 102 eruptions of this volcano throughout its existence.
It erupts every few years
It usually makes small eruptions every 2-3 years and large eruptions every 10-15 years. The pyroclastic flows generated by it can sometimes be explosive and can even travel at speeds of 110 km/h.
List of dangerous eruptions
Some of the most dangerous eruptions of Mount Merapi occurred in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872, 1930 and 2010. It is estimated that the eruption of 1006 was so massive that it ended the kingdom of Mataram that existed by the volcano. The latest eruption in 2010 caused the death of 353 people in Indonesia.