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What is Indonesia Mount Merapi Volcano?

Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi (literally Fire Mountain in Indonesian/Javanese), is an active stratovolcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548. It is located approximately 28 kilometres (17 mi) north of Yogyakarta city, and thousands of people live on the flanks of the volcano, with villages as high as 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) above sea level.

The name Merapi could be loosely translated as 'Mountain of Fire'. The etymology of the name came from Meru-Api; from the Javanese combined words; Meru means "mountain" refer to mythical mountain of Gods in Hinduism, and api means "fire". Smoke can be seen emerging from the mountain top at least 300 days a year.

Mythology about Merapi

Merapi is very important to Javanese, especially those living around its crater. As such, there are many myths and beliefs attached to Merapi.

Mount Merapi Creation

Although most nearby villages have their own myths about the creation of Mount Merapi, they have numerous commonalities. It is believed that when the gods had just created the Earth, Java was unbalanced because of the placement of Mount Jamurdipo on the west end of the island. In order to assure balance, the gods (generally represented by Batara Guru) ordered the mountain to be moved to the centre of Java. However, two armourers, Empu Rama and Empu Permadi, were already forging a sacred keris at the site where Mount Jamurdipo was to be moved. The gods warned them that they would be moving a mountain there, and that they should leave; Empu Rama and Empu Permadi ignored that warning. In anger, the gods buried Empu Rama and Empu Permadi under Mount Jamurdipo; their spirits later became the rulers of all mystical beings in the area. In memory of them, Mount Jamurdipo was later renamed Mount Merapi, which means "fire of Rama and Permadi."

Spirit Kraton of Merapi

The Javanese believe that the Earth is not only populated by human beings, but also by spirits . Villages near Merapi believe that one of the palaces (in Javanese kraton) used by the rulers of the spirit kingdom lies inside Merapi, ruled by Empu Rama and Empu Permadi. This palace is said to be a spiritual counterpart to the Yogyakarta Sultanate, complete with roads, soldiers, princes, vehicles, and domesticated animals. Besides the rulers, the palace is said to also be populated by the spirits of ancestors who died as righteous people. The spirits of these ancestors are said to live in the palace as royal servants (abdi dalem), occasionally visiting their descendants in dreams to give prophecies or warnings. "

Spirits of Merapi

To keep the volcano quiet and to appease the spirits of the mountain, the Javanese regularly bring offerings on the anniversary of the sultan of Yogyakarta's coronation. For Yogyakarta Sultanate, Merapi holds significant cosmological symbolism, because it is forming a sacred north-south axis line between Merapi peak and Southern Ocean (Indian Ocean).

The sacred axis is signified by Merapi peak in the north, the Tugu monument near Yogyakarta main train station, the axis runs along Malioboro street to Northern Alun-alun (square) across Keraton Yogyakarta (sultan palace), Southern Alun-alun, all the way to Bantul and finally reach Samas and Parangkusumo beach on the estuary of Opak river and Southern Ocean. This sacred axis connected the hyangs or spirits of mountain revered since ancient times—often identified as "Mbah Petruk" by Javanese people—The Sultan of Yogyakarta as the leader of the Javanese kingdom, and Nyi Roro Kidul as the queen of the Southern Ocean, the female ocean deity revered by Javanese people and also mythical consort of Javanese kings.

The explanation above, just from the historical and mythology side. But we can't forget the disaster that came from mount Merapi. This mount, typically do the small eruptions occur every two to three years, and larger ones every 10–15 years or so. Notable eruptions, often causing many deaths, have occurred in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872, and 1930—when thirteen villages were destroyed and 1400 people killed by pyroclastic flows. A very large eruption in 1006 is claimed to have covered all of central Java with ash. The volcanic devastation is claimed to have led to the collapse of the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram; however, there is insufficient evidence from that era for this to be substantiated.

The latest disaster from Merapi in 2006 and 2010. On May, 27 2006, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck roughly 50 km (30 mill) southwest of Merapi, killing at least 5,000 and leaving at least 200,000 people homeless in the Yogyakarta region, heightening fears that Merapi would "blow".

The quake did not appear to be a long-period oscillation, a seismic disturbance class that is increasingly associated with major volcanic eruptions. A further 11,000 villagers were evacuated on 6 June as lava and superheated clouds of gas poured repeatedly down its upper slopes towards Kaliadem, a location that was located southeast of Mt. Merapi. The pyroclastic flows are known locally as "wedhus gembel" (Javanese for "shaggy goat"). There were two fatalities as the result of the eruption.

In 2010, exactly on December 3 2010 the head of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Dr. Syamsul Maarif, M. Si, accompanied by the head of the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation CVGHM (PVMBG), Dr. Surono made a joint press release at the BNPB Command Post in Yogyakarta. As of 3 December 2010, at 09.00 am, the CVGHM (PVMBG) lowered the status of Mount Merapi to the level of "Caution Alert (Level III). They clarified that with this alert level the potential of hot ash clouds and projected incandescent material remained. The Geological Agency provided several recommendations including that there would be no community activities in the disaster prone areas and proclaimed an ongoing exclusion zone of 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mill) radius. [visit this site for spesific explanation about Merapi Eruption in 2010, click here]

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It is all the introduction about the mount Merapi, there is a disaster like mount Merapi eruption, but the government still struggle because we have the disaster management. How to know more about that, let we explain you all about the disaster management when you are join this MY ISS (Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta International Summer School) program.