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Alert Issued for Central Java's Merapi Volcano

Volcanologist Issue Alerts and Increase Monitoring Activity at Central Java Landmark.

(4/16/2006) Indonesia's Center for Vulcanology raised the alert status for Central Java’s Mount Merapi to "Level 3" on April 12, 2006, as the result of increased seismic activity recorded at government monitoring stations near the 9,737 foot high mountain. In raising the alert status experts are signaling that an eruption of the mountain might be imminent and have warned the public not to venture within an 8 kilometer radius of the active volcano.

"Based on previous experiences, the volcano's increased activity will usually be followed by an explosion. We have been observing that the current condition of Mount Merapi is a pre-eruption phenomena," the head of Yogyakarta's Volcanology Technology Development and Research Center (BPPTK) Ratdomopurbo said on Thursday, April 13, 2006.

The "Level 3" warning is the second highest alert status issued for volcanoes in Indonesia.

Observers report smoke clouds of more than 800 feet emanating from the volcano's cone with aviation alerts now issued to commercial and private aircraft operating in the vicinity of the mountain.

Merapi is one of 129 volcanoes in Indonesia listed as "active" and monitored by governemtn experts. Merapi's last major eruption in 1994 caused 43 deaths.

Located 25 kilometers north of the Central Javanese city of Yogyakarta, Merapi is more than 530 kilometers from Bali's capital of Denpasar.