Indonesia’s Merapi volcano throws ash at 6,000 metres above sea level

Indonesia's Merapi volcano throws ash at 6,000 metres above sea level
BPPTKG / AFP - HANDOUT

Indonesia’s Merapi volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted on Sunday, sending grey ash clouds at an altitude of 6,000 meters, the local geological agency said.

Two successive eruptions occurred in seven minutes, according to the agency. Local authorities have urged people to evacuate a three-kilometre radius area around the crater north of Yogyakarta on the island of Java.

The agency did not raise the alert level of the volcano after the eruptions but urged planes operating in the area to exercise utmost caution.

Local media reported that in the nearby towns of Sleman and Klaten, residents heard rumblings coming from the volcano in the morning.

The volcano had already erupted in March, temporarily closing Solo International Airport, also known as Surakarta, about 40 kilometres away.

The last major eruption of the Merapi, in 2010, killed more than 300 people and forced more than 280,000 residents to evacuate.

It was the most powerful eruption since the 1930 eruption that killed some 1,300 people. An eruption in 1994 also claimed 60 lives.

The Southeast Asian archipelago has more than 17,000 islands and islets and nearly 130 active volcanoes. Indonesia lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the friction of tectonic plates causes frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.