Mount Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The eruption of Merapi in general has different characteristics from other volcanoes. The Merapi eruption is characterized by the growth of the lava dome in the vicinity of the crater. The lava dome in an unstable condition can collapse to form lava followed by the release of heat clouds, known locally as wedhus gembel (shaggy sheep). "Merapi does have its own characteristics of eruption. Every time it erupts, Merapi has different behavior. Certainly, it makes some people of Yogyakarta panic," said Budi Saptono Samodra, S.T, faculty staff of the Geology Engineering Department UGM on Monday (1/11) at UGM.
Various threats of danger, such as heat clouds, lava, and ash rain, are caused by the eruption of Merapi. There is still secondary danger of the cold lava flood. Piles of material that has not consolidated strongly on the slopes if exposed to rain will become unstable and collapse into lava flood. "The region that is threatened by the cold lava flood is generally located along rivers whose upstreams are around the peak of Merapi. However, the danger of this lava is now relatively controllable in the presence of sabo dams," he explained.
Responding to the various threats posed by the Merapi, Saptono urged people to adapt to the volcano. First, understand the characteristics of Mount Merapi. Understanding is the basis for any action in adapting to the Merapi’s behavior. "If Merapi is calm and “friendly”, therefore the efforts to take advantage of its positive potentials could be done wisely. Conversely, when Merapi is ‘acting up’, the wisest step is to give space and time for Merapi to finish its ‘act’ and move temporarily to a secure location," he explained.
The volatility of Merapi, said Saptono, is identified by the Center for Volcano Investigation and Technological Development (BPPTK) under the Center for Vulcanology and Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG). People should pay attention to the information provided by relevant agencies to minimize the negative impact of eruption.