Since the pyroclastic heat clouds rolled down Mt. Merapi on 26 October evening killing 30 persons and destroying many villages in its wake within 10 km. radius from the crater, Mt. Merapi has remained relatively quiet yesterday. But the government warns that this should not be taken as if all is safe now, since the worst may not be over yet. Therefore, authorities strongly deter evacuees from returning to their homes until further notice.
Scientists studying the behaviour of Mt. Merapi agree that Merapi’s present behaviour diverges from earlier eruptions, since even before its explosion Tuesday, the mountain already accumulated 3 times more energy compared to previous eruptions. However, Tuesday’s pyroclastic flows contained only ash, and have not yet spewed out large rocks.
Meanwhile, Head of the Borobudur National Park announced that Tuesday’s pyroclastic clouds had thrown volcanic ash over the precious 8th century Buddhist monument, near Magelang, Central Java, covering the entrance, stupas and parts of the temple with five to six centimeters thick white ash. The Borobudur monument will be swept and cleansed and , therefore, will be temporarily closed to climb. Closure is expected to last one week. Visitors are free to admire the temple from the park, but may not climb the monument.
The volcanic ash which is suspected to contain sulfuric material because of its pungent smell, will quickly erode the ancient granites of the temple. The Agency will, therefore, collect samples of the ash for detailed analysis, to further decide on the next steps how best to clean the monument for further conservation.
The government also announced that Yogyakarta city and airport, south of Mt. Merapi continues to be safe and has remained open to airline traffic. Airlines, are, nonetheless warned to heed Merapi’s clouds of volcanic ash in the air.
Starting today, Java Tourism Care and Sahabat Merapi have jointly opened a Command Post (Posko) at Jalan Lingkar Utara 234 Yogyakarta.
They can be contacted at +62 2745 20907, fax: +62 2745 83783, mobile +62 8190404471