Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate Thursday night when Mount Merapi volcano erupted on the Indonesian island of Java. Abdul Muhari, a spokesman for the National Disaster Relief Organization, said the mixture of hot lava, ash and gases was pouring down the southeastern slope of the mountain. Also, gray rain fell in many villages.
More than 250 people had to move to safer places. An eruption zone is formed around the volcano within a radius of five kilometers. No casualties have been reported so far.
At an altitude of more than 2900 meters, the Merapi is called a stratovolcano. When an eruption occurs, a mixture of dust, rock, volcano and hot gas often flows into the valleys. The chances of escaping from these fast flowing coal clouds are very low. Deadly currents will stop flowing for miles below the valley.
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Mount Merapi is the most active volcano in Indonesia. It is about 35 km north of Yogyakarta. A devastating eruption in 2010 killed more than 340 people and displaced tens of thousands. There are about 130 active volcanoes across the country. The island nation of Indonesia is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is known for its seismicity. (dpa)