Mt Merapi erupts, spewing lava, clouds of ash 2,000m into sky

The Mt Merapi eruption sent volcanic ash raining down on a 10sq km area. (Twitter pic/tripjeepmerapi)

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted Thursday as fiery red molten lava streamed down from the crater and it belched clouds of grey ash 2,000m into the sky.

Authorities did not raise the rumbling volcano’s alert status after the early-morning eruption, but they advised commercial planes to take caution in the area.

But any activity at Merapi raises concern and local residents were ordered to stay outside a 3km no-go zone around the rumbling crater near Indonesia’s cultural capital Yogyakarta.

Volcanic ash rained down on a 10sq km area, according to the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Centre.

Mount Merapi’s last major eruption in 2010 killed more than 300 people and forced the evacuation of some 280,000 residents.

It was Merapi’s most powerful eruption since 1930, which killed around 1,300 people, while another explosion in 1994 took about 60 lives.

The Indonesian archipelago has more than 17,000 islands and islets – and nearly 130 active volcanoes.

It sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a vast zone of geological instability where the collision of tectonic plates causes frequent quakes and major volcanic activity.