Home News Massive Volcanic Eruption of the Marapi Volcano in West Sumatra, Indonesia

Massive Volcanic Eruption of the Marapi Volcano in West Sumatra, Indonesia

Massive Volcanic Eruption of the Marapi Volcano in West Sumatra, Indonesia

A massive volcanic eruption of the Marapi volcano in West Sumatra, Indonesia, has sent a plume of ash and gas more than 10 kilometers into the sky, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and disrupting air traffic in the region. The eruption, which occurred last Friday morning, was the strongest one recorded at the volcano since 2010, when it killed two people and injured dozens more.

The Marapi volcano, which is not to be confused with the similarly named Merapi volcano in Central Java, is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, a country that lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of seismic and volcanic activity that encircles the Pacific Ocean. It has erupted more than 50 times since 1800, with the most recent eruption occurring in 2018. The volcano is part of the Barisan mountain range that runs along the western coast of Sumatra, and it has a height of 2891 meters above sea level.

The Marapi volcano is a stratovolcano, meaning that it is composed of layers of lava and ash that have accumulated over time. The volcano has a complex structure, with several craters and vents that produce different types of eruptions. Some eruptions are explosive, sending ash and gas into the air, while others are effusive, producing lava flows that can reach up to 10 kilometers from the summit.

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The Marapi volcano poses a significant threat to the surrounding population, as it is located near several major cities and towns, such as Bukittinggi, Padang Panjang, and Batusangkar. The volcano also affects the local agriculture and environment, as the ash and lava can damage crops and forests, as well as pollute water sources. The Indonesian government has established a 3-kilometer exclusion zone around the volcano, and monitors its activity closely using seismographs and satellite imagery.

The Marapi volcano is also a popular destination for tourists and hikers, who can enjoy the scenic views and natural beauty of the area. However, visitors are advised to follow the safety regulations and avoid the danger zones when the volcano is active.

According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, Marapi has erupted at least 21 times since 1800, with the deadliest one occurring in 1975, when an explosive eruption killed at least 80 people and injured hundreds more. The latest eruption comes amid heightened volcanic activity in Indonesia.

The Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level for the volcano to the second highest and warned of possible lava flows and pyroclastic surges. The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) said that more than 20,000 people living within a 10-kilometer radius of the volcano have been evacuated to safer areas, and that no casualties have been reported so far.

The agency also said that masks and other protective equipment have been distributed to the affected communities, as the ash and gas could pose health risks, especially for people with respiratory problems. The eruption has also affected air travel, as several flights to and from the nearby cities of Padang and Pekanbaru have been canceled or diverted due to the poor visibility and the risk of engine damage.

The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in Darwin, Australia, issued a red alert for aviation, indicating that the eruption could produce a major ash cloud that could disrupt air traffic over a large area. The Marapi volcano, which is not to be confused with the similarly named Merapi volcano in Central Java, is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, a country that lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a belt of seismic and volcanic activity that encircles the Pacific Ocean.

According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, Marapi has erupted at least 21 times since 1800, with the deadliest one occurring in 1975, when an explosive eruption killed at least 80 people and injured hundreds more.

The latest eruption comes amid heightened volcanic activity in Indonesia, as several other volcanoes, such as Sinabung, Semeru, and Raung, have also erupted in recent weeks, causing evacuations and flight disruptions. Indonesia has more than 120 active volcanoes, making it one of the most volcanically active countries in the world.

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