Merapi Finishes Eruption Phase, But Still Dangerous
Sleman, Yogyakarta. Mount Merapi has completed its eruption phase, which began last year, according to a volcanologist.
Subandriyo, the head of the Yogyakarta Volcano Investigation and Technology Development Agency (BPPTK), said that nearly a year after its eruption, Merapi had finally stopped its volcanic activities, signaling that the volcano had completed its eruption phase.
“[Merapi] is now back to normal. There are no more rumblings or activities at both the crater and lava chamber,” he said.
Based on the BPPTK’s studies, he said, the volatile mountain shows no signs of deformity, an indication of possible eruptions in the future.
He added that Merapi’s crater had stabilized and the volcano’s internal pressure was back at a normal level.
However, Subandriyo said Merapi might still be dangerous in the future as the hundreds of millions of cubic meters of volcanic ash are still blanketing the mountain. The ash could turn into lahar , or mudflow, during the rainy season and affect areas such as Sleman, and Central Java’s Magelang, Boyolali and Klaten.
On Friday, the Sleman district government said the annual motorcycling “Tour de Merapi” event would be held next month in a bid to boost tourism in the area after last year’s eruption killed more than 300 people.
“The event will take place on October 30. It will start at the Sleman district office and finish at the Mount Merapi Museum,” Untoro Budiharjo, the head of the Sleman Culture and Tourism Office, said on Friday.
This year’s tour will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the eruption, but participants will only ride their bikes in the district, not near the volcano.
Last year’s event was staged on Oct. 10, just days before the volatile volcano began spewing hot ashes.
“The biker communities will not only come from Yogyakarta, but also touring enthusiasts from several areas in Central Java, East Java and other places,” Untoro said. “Although the route will be shorter, we are optimistic that the event will be successful.”
Participants will ride along a 100-kilometer route, visiting several tourism sites throughout the district and enjoying cultural activities prepared by the tour’s organizer, Untoro added.