Volcano grounds jets in Indonesia

Flights between Singapore and several Indonesian cities, including the capital Jakarta, have been grounded due to the latest eruption of Mt. Merapi. The volcano has been erupting for two weeks and has killed more than 130 people and displaced two hundred thousand.

Several airports have closed and while the ash cloud has affected international flights, domestic flights are continuing as normal. So far the suspensions of flights are up to the individual airlines, but major carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa and Cathay have chosen to play it safe.

Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in the Ring of Fire, a giant arch of tectonic activity around the Pacific. Back in 2006, an eruption displaced tens of thousands and prompted local villagers to try animist rituals to placate the volcano’s spirits.

[Image courtesy user Tequendamia via Wikimedia Commons]

Indonesian Volcano Threatens 20,000

From CNN.com:  Mount Merapi, one of Indonesia’s most dangerous volcanoes,  has been growling for about a month now– but an increase in lava flow in the past day has intensified worries that an eruption is imminent.  As a result, more than 20,000 people will need to be evacuated to shelters that are already crowded (one of them already filled to three times its capacity).

If that isn’t bad enough, the United Nations is predicting that as many as 80,000 people may be displaced by an eruption, depending on the way the lava flows.  Volcanologist Catherine Hickson, of Thompson Rivers University in Canada, said “What the officials are saying is that we’re going to have a larger eruption than what we’re seeing right at the moment.”

Merapi is one of at least 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia.  It is part of the so-called “Ring of Fire,” which is a series of fault lines and volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean.