MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia – Deafening explosions of hot gas rattled evacuees miles from an Indonesian volcano Monday, the latest eruption in a deadly week. The country reported increased rumblings at 21 other active volcanoes to the second- and third- highest levels in the last two months, raising questions about what’s causing the uptick along some of the world’s most volatile fault lines.
No casualties were reported in Mount Merapi’s new blast.
Merapi has killed 38 people since it started erupting a week ago. Monitoring officials have also raised alert levels at some of the 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, with two under watch for possible eruption within two weeks and 19 showing increased activity – more than double the usual number on the watch list, an official said.
About 69,000 villagers have been evacuated from the area around Merapi’s slopes.
A government volcanologist, Gede Swantika, said that normally only five to 10 would be at the third-highest alert level – which indicates an increase in seismic activity and visible changes in the crater.