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Volcano : Merapi


By : MHD Raynaldo Pratama

1. Basic Information about merapi
2. Geological History of merapi
3. Eruption history of merapi
4. Pyroclastic flow of merapi
5. Summary
6. References
1. Basic Information about Merapi
Name : Merapi

Status : Active

Type : Stratovolcano

Height : 9.737 ft

Location : Borders of
and Klaten ( Central Java)

Eruption type : Hawaiian

The name Merapi could be loosely translated as 'Mountain of Fire'. The etymology of the
name came from Meru-Api; from the Javanese combined words; Meru means "mountain",
refer to mythical mountain of Gods in Hinduism, and api means "fire" Merapi (2986
mdpl) is located on the border of the four districts of Sleman, Yogyakarta Province and
Magelang, Solo and Salatiga district in Central Java Province. Based on the tectonic
structure, the mountain is located in the subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian Plate
subducting beneath the Eurasian plate which controls volcanism in Sumatra, Java, Bali
and Nusa Tenggara.
2. Geological History of merapi
1. Pre Merapi (+ 400,000 years ago)
Come up as Mount Bibi with andesitic-basaltic magma ± 700,000 years old located on
the eastern slope of Merapi including Boyolali. Bibi mountain rock is andesite-basaltic
but does not contain orthopyroxen. Bibi peak has an altitude of about 2050 m above sea
level with a flat distance between the peak and the peak of Merapi is now about 2.5 miles.
Due to the very old age Mount Bibi experiencing strong alteration so fresh rock samples
are hard to find.

2. Former Merapi (60000-8000 years ago)

At this time nascent known as Mount Merapi, which is the initial phase of its
formation with cone rudimentary. Extrusion initially took the form of basaltic lava
that formed Mount Turgo and Plawangan approximately 40,000 years old. Product
activity consists of basaltic andesite rocks with composition of pyroclastic flows, and
brecciation of lava
3. Middle Era of Merapi
In this phase, occurred some andesitic lava that make up the Batulawang hill and
Gajahmungkur, which is currently visible on the northern slopes of Merapi. The rock
is composed of lava flows, lava and pyroclastic brecciation which is composed by 50-
60% Silica (SiO2).Merapi activity is characterized by effusive eruptions (melt) and
explosive. It is estimated that explosive eruptions also occur with "de¬bris-avalanche"
to the west of the left-horse poultice morphology with a length of 7 km, 1-2 km wide
with a few hills on the western slopes. In this period formed crater Pasar Bubrah.

4. Present Merapi (2000 years ago - present)

In Pasar Bubrah crater, formed conical peak of Merapi, which is now known as
Mount Anyar which is currently at the center of the activity of Merapi. Bedrock of
this phase is estimated from Old Merapi formation. The present Merapi currently
about 2000 years old. Great eruption of Merapi occurred in the past, the materials
has been covered Sambisari located ± 23 km south of Merapi. Stratigraphic studies
conducted by Andre Astuti (1999) have shown that some major eruption, the
eruption index (VEI) of about 4, Plinian type, has occurred in the past. The last
major eruption with a fairly broad distribution of produce Selokopo tephra that
occurred about 500 years ago.
Formed of Mount Bibi, in
this phase present Merapi
wasn’t formed yet.

In this phase, the eruption

occurred and resulted in
deposition of material coming out
of the bowels of the mountain,
thus forming a mountainside

At this stage, Merapi began forming a

cone-shaped crater, from the
deposition of the volcanic eruption.

At this stage, no significant changes, only small

eruptions that occur causing the material sediment
settles on the slopes

At this stage, eruptions that occur causing the

mountain slopes become more bilateral, and
eruptions in the form of hot clouds and lava. At this
stage the volcanos be highly considered by
3. Eruption History of Merapi
Based on history, the Mount Merapi began performing as a volcano since the year of
1006, when it was listed as the first eruption (Indonesian Volcano Basic Data, 1979).
Until the eruption on February 2001, there had been as many as 82 erupted events.
Average Merapi erupted in short cycles that occur between 2-5 years, while the
secondary cycle every 5-7 years. Longest cycle ever recorded after a break for> 30
years, especially in the early days of its existence as a volcano. Entering the 16th
century Merapi began a continuous record of activities and it appears that, once
achieved the longest cycle for 71 years when the interval between 1587 and 1658
Eruption of Mount Merapi is always traversed by a long process that began with the
formation of domes, incandescent lava, "Pyroclastic flow" that are true definition of the
beginning of the effusive eruption type.
In historical records, the eruption of Mount Merapi in general are not great. When
measured by the index eruptions VEI (Volcano explosivity index) between 1-3.
Pyroclastic flow sliding distance ranging from 4-15 km. In the 20th century, the
largest eruption occurred in 1930 with the index VEI 3. Though eruption of Merapi
generally quite small, but based on stratigraphy found in the field, of pyroclastic
flow that allegedly came from a large eruption of Merapi. Seeing thickness and
spreading estimated index variation eruptions with VEI 4 eruption types between
vulkanian to Plinian. This major eruption is expected to occur during the Mid
Merapi, about 3000 years ago.

Since 1768. geologist has recorded more than 80 eruptions. Among the eruption, a
large eruption (VEI ≥ 3) is the period of the 19th century (eruption in 1768, 1822,
1849, 1872) and the period of the 20th century, namely 1930-1931. Eruption of the
19th century is relatively greater intensity, while the 20th-century eruption
frequency more often. Possibility of large eruptions occur once in 100 years. Large
eruptions can be explosive and pyroclastic flow reach up to 15 Km. Direction of
Merapi eruption since 1872-1931 is to the west-northwest. But since the great
eruption of 1930-1931, the dominant direction of eruption is to southwest till the
year 2001. Direction of eruption in 2006, is changed from the southwest to the
southeast, by forming a crater openings leading to Gendol.
Sedimentation of “Pyroclastic flow” recorded base on when the eruption happenned
Data of the eruption occurred in Merapi

Table describes the sequence of eruption events

Graph shows the VEI of eruption and rest period between 1780-2000
4. Pyroclastic Flow
Every active volcano has pyroclastic flow include Merapi. Pyroclastic flow is one of the
results of volcanic eruptions that moves quickly and is composed of hot gas, ash, and
rock (known as tefra). This flow can be moved from the volcano at speeds of 700 km /
h. Gas can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees Celsius.
Visually, the appearance of the pyroclastic flows like sheep that were down the slope.
Therefore, residents around Mount Merapi call it wedhus gembel. The name is thought
to have existed long before another term for pyroclastic flows, namely "nuee ardente"
which was introduced in volcanology world.
Not all materials such as rocks, gravel, ash or sand coming out of the volcano can be
called pyroclastic flows. If the material is only ejected or rising into the sky, then the
term used is bombs, gravel, or sand (depending on size) or the eruption column. The
pyroclastic flows is limited to the flow of heat from the suspension of volcanic material
down the slope and controlled by gravity and magnitude of the convective thrust of the
gas in the crater hole.
This is the Pyroclastic Flow
See the materials erupted and slip down the slope

Falling materials are coming from the crater. The

material spewed with exceptional compressive force
and explode. In this picture, it looks very clear
pyroclastic flows, because it happened at night. This
will result a great damage for vegetation,and structure
of slope.
After effect of pyroclastic flow in Merapi

Before After

Before After
Victims of Merapi eruption on 2010
5. Summary
1. Merapi is known as a very active volcano. Because of its high activity, short
eruptive period of between 2-7 years, volcanic experts use it as an object of
research and investigation as well as to test the monitoring equipment.
2. Merapi through 4 stages of formation called “Pre Merapi – Former Merapi –
Mid Merapi, and Present Merapi.
3. The eruption of Merapi is occurred once at 5 years or more (even reach 150
4. Pyroclastic flows is result of volcanic eruption that contains gases, rocks,
ashes. Its velocity could reach up until 700 km/h, and its degress could reach
1000 ˚C ( It almost same heat as extrusive lava)
5. Many of the victims who died not because of the eruption / lava flowing
directly, but a cloud of high-speed heat and high temperature to kill them all.
6. References

Thank You!!