Indonesia's Mt. Merapi poses threat with cold lava floods: agency

14:24, November 12, 2010      

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Recent eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Merapi have released more than 140 million cubic meters of volcanic materials. But "cold lava" floods are emerging as a serious threat as heavy rains inundate the region, the Jakarta Post quoted a government volcanologist as saying on Friday.

Since eruptions began on Oct. 26, volcanic materials have flooded all 12 rivers whose upper streams originate in Mt. Merapi.

More than 15 kilometers of the Gendol River have been completely covered by volcanic materials. The river's banks have been reinforced to prevent lava overflows.

Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG) chief Surono said lava and mud might cause Merapi's rivers to overflow.

"The cold lava flood threat needs serious attention," he said.

The river, previously 100 deep and equally as wide, is higher than surrounding villages that have been completely devastated by the eruption and covered by thick layers of volcanic ash.

The flows have destroyed a bridge, five houses and water pipes in Sleman regency.

So far, the eruptions have claimed 195 lives and 350,000 people are forced to take refuge.

Source: Xinhua


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