Der Spiegel reports on the growling-ever-louder Indonesian Merapi volcano in an article titled: Geologists Warning of Mega-Eruption of Merapi. Hat-tip to reader Ike.
The Merapi eruptions are becoming more violent – and the big bang could be just ahead. The Indonesian volcano has been spewing 800°C ash clouds for days.
According to Der Spiegel, 122 people have been killed, most on Friday. “Merapi is among the most dangerous volcanoes,” says geo-scientist Volker Steinbach of the German Federal Administration for Geoscience and Raw Materials (BGR). Der Spiegel adds:
Friday’s eruption is its worst this decade, says the chief geologist of the Energy Administration, Raden Sukhyiar, in the “Jakarta Post”. The biggest known eruptions occurred in 1006, 1369, 1786, 1822, 1872 – destroying a large number of villages – and 1930 when 1300 people perished.
Investigations of the volcano have revealed that an unprecedented Magma reservoir lurks underneath it, says Birger Lühr, a volcano researcher at the GFZ in Potsdam, Germany.
A rough estimate indicates that there is three times more magma than what was ejected by the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815 – the biggest eruption in the last 10,000 years, which led to a cooling of the climate globally.
Geoscientists aren’t sure what to make of this huge magma reservoir. As Der Spiegel reports, they are hesitant to make predictions of catastrophe (That’s only done in climate science, even though the odds are far less).
Word of a ‘mega-eruption’ is making the rounds among scientists. But apparently they are avoiding the use of the word to avoid being labelled preachers of disasters. ‘We can only speculate what the volcano will do,’ says Birger Lühr. Merapi is hardly predictable.
History shows, however, that volcanoes in Indonesia have a worrisome potential for catastrophic eruptions. Nature cannot be controlled. It can only be coped with.