Indonesia’s most active volcano erupted, sending a river of lava and clouds of scorching gas flowing 3000 meters (9,850 feet) down its slopes.
The sounds of the eruption could be heard 30 km away, officials said. No casualties were reported.
It was the largest lava flow on Mount Merapi since authorities raised its danger level in November, said Hanik Humaida, head of the volcanology and geological hazard mitigation center in nearby Yogyakarta. .
She said the volcano’s lava dome was growing rapidly, causing hot lava and gas clouds to fall on its slopes.
After the morning rain, the ash fall turned to mud in several villages. More than 150 people, mostly elderly, living within 5 km of the crater were evacuated to barracks set up for the displaced people.
In November, authorities evacuated nearly 2,000 people living on the mountainside in Magelang and Sleman districts, but most have since returned.
The alert is being maintained at the second highest level and authorities have told people to stay out of a danger zone around the crater.
The 2,968-meter volcano on the densely populated island of Java is the most active of dozens of volcanoes in Indonesia and has erupted several times in recent times. The last major eruption in Merapi, in 2010, killed 347 people.
Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity as it lies along the so-called “ring of fire” of the Pacific, a series of seismic fault lines shaped like a horseshoe.