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The April 1982 - Jan 1983 eruption of Galunggung volcano, West Java

The 1982-1983 eruption was a series of violent explosions with tall ash plumes and pyroclastic flows and mud flows. It killed at least 21 people, caused evacuation of 40,000 people and destroyed ca 94,000 ha of cultivated land.


A brief explosive eruption began before dawn 5 April, ejecting incandescent tephra and "stones as big as a human head" according to press reports. The ash plume observed the next day had a diameter of 50 km. Up to 25 cm of ash fell on the slopes and ash reached as far as Garut. 2 persons were killed and as many as 31,000 were evacuated, but most of the evacuees returned home within a few hours.
A second explosive eruption occurred during the night of 8-9 April accompanied by a strong earthquake. Hot lahars (mud flows) flowed at 60 km/hour as far as 11 km down the SE flank, buried houses in at least six villages, and destroyed a bridge over the Cikunir River. At least 6 people were killed in the mud flows.
A series of medium to medium-large explosions continued the following months: Pyroclastic flows reached 4-5 km from the crater. Ash falls occured up to 160 km away. On 6 May, hot lapilli fell in the town of Garut and injured two persons. On 17 May, hot lapilli arrived in the town of Tasikmalaya (17 km ESE) and injured four persons and by the 18th, 2 cm of tephra had accumulated there.
During this highly explosive phase (May-October) ash reached a maximum observed altitude of 16.5 km, pitting the windshield of a passing airplane. Ash fell as far away as Central Java ca 300 km to the E. Over the course of the eruption, the 1918 lava dome was almost completely (90%) destroyed and by October, a new 800-m wide crater had formed in its place.
In September, explosions decreased in violence with ash rising "only" to 3-5 km. The activity became more of strombolian-type, apparently because fresher and hotter magma had reached the surface. A new cone grew around the vent inside the crater, ca. 200 m in diameter and 75 m high, dubbed Gunung Jadi.
Activity continued through mid-Jan, but with consistently decreasing intensity.
Strombolian activity occurred from this vent in January.

Eyewitnesses report:

submitted by Ferry Indrapratama (Padjadjaran University):
"1982 was my first year in high-school
beginning with devastating earthquake, a short time later Galunggung explode..... without any warning what so ever
I can see erupting materials for many days not for long time, all atmosphere covered by volcanic dust cloud there are no sun light for many months
lands, streets all grey --- we have to walk through (about) 1ft thick volcano ash
breathing is hard work
It's the most intense shaking experienced

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