YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s most volatile volcano on Sunday spewed ash and hot gas in a massive column as high as 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) into the sky.
Mount Merapi's clouds of ash, accompanied by a rumbling sound heard kilometers (miles) away, blanketed several villages on the main island of Java.
Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center did not raise Merapi's alert status, which already was at the third-highest level since it began erupting last August.
Villagers living on Merapi’s fertile slopes are advised to stay 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the crater’s mouth and should be aware of the peril of lava, the agency said.
The 2,968-meter (9,737-foot) mountain is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes. It has rumbled and generated dark hot clouds since last year.
Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 353 people.
Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines around the ocean.