Indonesia’s Mount Merapi erupts again spewing ash, smoke and a river of lava

Indonesia’s most active volcano erupted once again with a river of lava and searing gas clouds flowing 1,500 metres down its slopes.

It was the Mount Merapi’s longest lava flow since authorities raised the volatile volcano’s danger level in November, said Hanik Humaida, the head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center.

The alert level was being maintained for now at the second-highest level, she said, and people should stay out of the existing 5-kilometre danger zone around the crater as the local administrations in Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces closely monitor the situation.

The 2,968-metre volcano is on the densely populated island of Java and near the ancient city of Yogyakarta. It is the most active of dozens of Indonesian volcanoes and has repeatedly erupted with lava and gas clouds recently.

Smoke rises from Mount Merapi (Image: Twitter/susucapi)

About a quarter million people live within 10 kilometres of the volcano, according to authorities in surrounding districts.

Merapi’s last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers.

Indonesia is home to more than 120 active volcanoes and is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines around the Pacific Ocean.