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Merapi volcano (Central Java): increased seismic activity could indicate the start of a new lava dome growth

Friday Feb 17, 2012 10:05 AM | BY: T

Seismic activity has increased beneath Mount Merapi volcano in Central Java, Indonesia, in the last few days. The increase in so-called multiphase earthquakes is thought to indicate the beginning of the formation of a new lava dome.
A volcanologist from the Selo observation post on the north side of the volcano is quoted "there is movement in the magma chamber in the form of a new lava dome formation. But we do not know the emission point because from Selo it is not visible". It is planned to check the situation at the summit in the near future. "The status of Merapi still active normal."

Starting around 11 February, Mount Merapi showed increased seismic activity, especially in multi-phase (MP) earthquakes, which are believed to correspond to movements in the magma chamber and conduits. During the week of 29 January and 4 Feb 29, 18 such quakes were recorded, but that figure rose sharply during the following week, when about 100 were recorded. The peak occurred on 12 February, when 63 MP as well as 6 shallow volcanic earthquakes were recorded.
On 13 February earthquake activity decreased to 34 MP quakes, 3 avalanche, and 9 shallow volcanic and tectonic quakes. On 14 February, there were 25 MP and 14 shallow volcanic quakes.

The Head of the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) Mr Boyolali Hasanudin confirmed that the increased activity of Mount Merapi is a normal phenomenon frequently seen at the volcano, and still within the range of normal fluctuations. The official alert level remains at 1 out of 4 (normal activity).
People living on the slopes of Mount Merapi, particularly those living higher up the slopes and near the major drainage valley are encouraged to remain vigilant. A major hazard for these areas are floods and mud flows, particularly now in the rainy season.
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