Tuesday 19 May 2015

Student believed dead after falling into crater of Mount Merapi, Java.

A student at Atma Jaya University in Yogyakarta is believed to have died after falling into the crater of Mount Merapi in Central Java on Saturday 16 May 2015. Eri Yunanto, 21, who was studying at the university's Technical Industry School had ascended the volcano, which is a popular tourist spot, with a group of friends, when he lost his footing while taking a photograph and toppled into the crater. Investigators from the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency have located what they believe to be Mr Yunanto's body about a hundred meters bellow the rim of the crater, but were unable to enter the crater itself due to smoke and poisonous gas. The Yogyakarta-based Geological Disaster Technology Research and Development Center has issued a warning about unsafe conditions on the mountain and all trekking activities have been suspended while an investigation into the incident is carried out.

Areal view of Mount Merapi. John Stanmeyer/Mount Merapi.

Mount Merapi lies in a densely populated area of Java, on the borders of Central Java and Yogyakarta Provinces, only 28 km to the north of Yogyakarta city. It has been erupting more-or-less continuously since 1548, and has been responsible for numerous fatalities, most recently in 1994 when a pyroclastic flow (avalanche of hot gas and ash) killed 27 people, mostly in the town of Muntilan, to the west of the volcano. Since then Merapi has undergone tow major eruptive episodes, in 2006 and 2010, without any further loss of life, largely due to prompt evacuations by Indonesian authorities.

The approximate location of Mount Merapi. Google Maps.

The Indo-Australian Plate, which underlies the Indian Ocean to the south of Java, is being subducted beneath the Sunda Plate, a breakaway part of the Eurasian Plate which underlies Java and neighbouring Sumatra, along the Sunda Trench, passing under Java, where friction between the two plates can cause Earthquakes. As the Indo-Australian Plate sinks further into the Earth it is partially melted and some of the melted material rises through the overlying Sunda Plate as magma, fuelling the volcanoes of Java and Sumatra.

Subduction along the Sunda Trench. Earth Observatory of Singapore.

See also...

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Eruptions on Mount Slamet.
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Eruptive activity on Mount Merapi, Java.
Mount Merapi, a volcano in central Java considered to be one of Indonesia's most active, underwent a brief outburst of volcanic activity between 1.12 and 1.16 pm local time (6.12 and 6.16 am GMT) on Thursday 27 March 2014, during which it generated a number of...

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