Image by Fabian Bromann (source: Flickr)

Java’s Merapi volcano’s increased activity we told you about yesterday, resulted in three eruptions this morning, “spewing volcanic ash as high as 1.5 kilometers and searing heat clouds down the slopes”, according to local government volcanologist Surono.

Since the increased activity of the volcano, and especially after the first eruption this morning, evacuation of local population has begun. A perimeter of 10 kilometers around the crater of the Merapi volcano was set up, and close to 19.000 people where asked to leave the hills of the mountain.

Volcanologists predicted this eruption to be bigger than the 2006 eruption, and they were right. Already it is clear that the heat clouds and gas and ash produced by today’s eruptions are longer lasting and wider spread than the 7-minute eruption of 2006. Officials on site still find it hard to warn people against the dangers of an eruption, as many of them are still lingering on and not eager to leave. Even amongst the ones who already left, some returned to the mountain today to attend their cows, farms or crops.