The most active volcano in Indonesia erupted, sending a river of lava and flaming gas clouds gushing 3,000 meters (9,850 feet) down its slopes.
Officials said the blast could be heard as far as 18 miles (30 km). There were no reports of injuries.
This is the largest lava flow in Mount Merapi since authorities raised the risk level in November, said Hanek Hamida, head of the Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center in the nearby city of Yogyakarta.
She said the lava dome was growing rapidly, causing hot lava flows and clouds of gas on its slopes.
After the morning rains, the ashfall turned to mud in several villages. More than 150 people, most of them elderly, who lived within 3 miles of the crater, were evacuated to barracks set up for the displaced.
In November, authorities evacuated nearly 2,000 people living on the mountain in Magelang and Solomon counties, but most have since returned.
The alert was kept at the second highest level, and the authorities asked people to stay outside the danger zone around the crater.
The 2,968-meter-high volcano located on the densely populated island of Java is the most active of dozens of Indonesian volcanoes, and has erupted frequently recently. The last major eruption of Merapi, In 2010, 347 people were killed.
Indonesia, An archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it is located along the so-called “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, a chain of seismic faults in the shape of a horseshoe.
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