The Indonesian Center for Volcanology has issued a third-degree warning on the possible eruption of the Merapi volcano in densely populated central Java, local media reported on Friday.
Merapi is one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in Indonesia and has produced more lava flows than any other volcano in the world. It has been active for 10,000 years and has registered eruptions on average every four years.
"The status of Merapi was raised on September 21 from the second degree 'warning' to the third degree 'expectation,' and all activities in the threatened area around the volcano will be banned for safety reasons," said Surono, the head of the Center for Volcanology.
The official said the volcano's activity had been rapidly increasing, accompanied by tremors and frequent lava spills.
Most eruptions of Merapi involve a collapse of the lava dome creating lava flows which travel around 4 miles from the summit.
"According to our calculations, the new eruption could produce lava flows that travel up to 15 miles," Surono said.
Merapi is located about 20 miles north of the city of Yogyakarta, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1,700 meters above sea level.
In 1997 and in 2006, thousands of Merapi villagers were evacuated when the volcano began spewing ash and lava.
The worst eruption in 1930 killed around 1,300 people.
JAKARTA, October 22 (RIA Novosti)