Indonesia’s most volatile volcano has erupted, spewing ash and hot gas miles into the air.
Mount Merapi sent a massive column of cloud around 3.7 miles (6km) into the sky on Sunday, as it erupted multiple times.
Several villages on the island of Java were blanketed in ash, and deep rumbling sounds were heard miles away.
The volcano’s alert status has remained at the third-highest level since it began erupting last August.
Villagers have been advised to stay 1.8 miles (3km) from the crater and be on the lookout for lava.
Despite the danger, the slopes surrounding the volcano are very fertile, and so attract inhabitants.
Mount Merapi stands 2,968 meters (9,737ft) tall, and is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes.
In 2010, a major eruption killed 353 people.
Indonesia‘s location makes it particularly vulnerable to earth tremors and volcanic activity.
The archipelago sits at the meeting point of three major continental plates – the Pacific, the Eurasian and the Indo-Australian plates – and the much smaller Philippine plate.
It also falls in the “Ring of Fire”, a horseshoe-shaped area around the edges of the Pacific Ocean, from Australia to the Andes, along which 90% of all earthquakes occur.
The southeast Asian country is home to around 270 million people.
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