As local residents carried out age-old magical ritualsdesigned to quiet the volcano, the Indonesian governmentordered mass evacuations from thearea of Mt. Merapi today, as a major eruption now appears tobe imminent. The ten thousand foot mountain is in a denselypopulated region of central Java, and has gone into a stateof continuous lava flow. The danger from this volcano is notthe relatively slow moving lava mass, but rather that therecould be a sudden eruption of gas from the crater. In 1994,such a gas discharge killed 60 people near the volcano, andthere are now many more living in the area.
Mt. Merapi is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. On May 6,gas plumes rose 2,400 feet above the crater. Merapi is onthe island of Java, about 300 miles from Jakarta. Thecapital is not in danger from the eruption.
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