The most volatile volcano in Indonesia has been experiencing increased activity in the past 24 hours. On Monday, the Indonesian government raised the alert for Mount Merapi to the highest level and reported that the magma has risen to about 1km below the surface. About 500 volcanic earthquakes were recorded on the mountain over the weekend. Officials have reported that there is pressure building behind a massive lava dome near the tip of the crater, and if the pressure is not released slowly, the area could experience a huge eruption. You can learn more and keep abreast of the scientific monitoring by checking the Wikipedia article. The volcano is located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, and residents within a six mile radius have been urged to evacuate.
Mount Merapi, which translates to Mountain of Fire, has erupted regularly since 1548. Generally there have been smaller eruptions every two or three years, with larger ones occurring every 10 to 15 years. Mount Merapi is one of the 16 Decade Volcanoes, which are chosen by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) for particular study because of their history of large, destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas.
According to Altegrity International more than 300 people were evacuated from villages near the volcano. But as the world was reminded by the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland, volcanic ash can cause medical problems and disrupt travel plans hundreds of miles away from the site of the activity.