Saturday, April 29, 2006

A few facts about Mount Merapi!

Indonesia's Merapi volcano has been spewing thick smoke for more than a week and volcanologists say it may erupt soon.

Following are five facts about the volcano:

- Gunung Merapi, or Fiery Mountain, located in central Java overlooking the ancient royal city of Yogyakarta, is the most active volcano in Indonesia.

- Merapi has been witnessing small eruptions every two or three years, bigger ones every 10-15 years, and very large ones every 50-60 years.

- The biggest eruptions occurred in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872 and 1930. The eruption of 1006 was so bad a Hindu kingdom was apparently destroyed while in 1930 more than 1,300 people were killed. The 1994 eruption claimed more than 60 lives.

- The 3,000-metre (9,800-ft) volcano is considered sacred by local people who believe a supernatural kingdom exists atop Merapi. Every year a priest climbs to the top to make an offering.
- Indonesia has the world's highest density of volcanoes and is located in the so-called 'Ring of Fire', a vast zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions looping around the Pacific Ocean and including Japan. Of these, 128 are active and 65 listed as dangerous.

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