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Mount Marapi: Recent Explosive Eruption Sparks Warnings and Safety Measures


Eruption Marapi
Source: CNN Indonesia

Marapi Eruption

Mount Marapi, situated administratively within the regions of Kabupaten Agam and Kabupaten Tanah Datar in the province of Sumatera Barat, has been under close surveillance. The recent volcanic activity, notably an explosive eruption, has prompted authorities to issue warnings and implement safety measures. This article provides an overview of the recent events, their impact, and the recommended precautions for the local community and visitors.


Recent Volcanic Activity

From January 7, 2023, until February 20, 2023, Mount Marapi experienced a series of explosive eruptions, with column heights ranging from 75 to 1000 meters above the summit. Subsequently, the eruption ceased, leading to local and distant tectonic earthquakes dominating seismic activities. The current activity level is categorized as Level II (WASPADA), indicating caution since August 3, 2011.


Latest Developments

As of December 3, 2023, at 18:00 WIB, the most recent explosive eruption occurred at 14:54 WIB, reaching a column height of approximately 3000 meters above the summit. The ash column, observed to be grey, had a thick intensity leaning towards the east. Seismic recordings captured an amplitude of 30 mm for 4 minutes and 41 seconds. The eruption was accompanied by pyroclastic flows towards the north, covering a distance of 3 km. Despite the absence of significant volcanic seismic activity before the eruption, tiltmeter data indicated rapid eruption processes with shallow pressure centres. Based on Basarnas data on December 3, 2023, at least 75 climbers were trapped when Mount Marapi erupted. A total of 11 were found dead, and 12 others have not been found.


Safety Recommendations

In light of the ongoing volcanic activity and potential hazards, authorities recommend the following precautions:

  1. Restricted Access: Residents and visitors are prohibited from engaging in activities or approaching Mount Marapi within a 3 km radius of the crater/summit.

  2. Maintain Calmness: Residents near Mount Marapi are urged to remain calm and avoid succumbing to rumours regarding potential eruptions. It is crucial to follow the guidance provided by local authorities.

  3. Protective Measures during Ashfall: In the event of ashfall, residents are advised to wear masks when leaving their homes to minimize the health impacts of volcanic ash. Additionally, securing clean water sources and clearing roofs of thick volcanic ash is recommended to prevent structural damage.

  4. Coordination and Actual Information Sharing for Community: The Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation will continue to coordinate with relevant authorities such as BNPB, BPBD of Sumatera Barat Province, and local BPBDs in Kabupaten Agam and Kabupaten Tanah Datar to provide up-to-date information on Mount Marapi's activity. Local governments of Kabupaten Agam and Kabupaten Tanah Datar are advised to coordinate with the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation and the Mount Marapi Observation Post on Jl. Prof. Hazairin No. 168 Bukit Tinggi for the latest updates on Mount Marapi's activity.

Monitoring and Information Access

For real-time monitoring and recommendations, the public and relevant authorities are encouraged to utilize the MAGMA INDONESIA application or website (Playstore/magma.esdm.go.id). As Mount Marapi continues to exhibit heightened volcanic activity, the safety and well-being of the community remain a top priority. By adhering to recommended precautions and staying informed through official channels, residents and visitors can contribute to their safety and the affected regions' overall resilience.

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