Zum Titlis Merapi Wanderausflug in die Berghänge ab Yogyakarta
Table of Contents
About Mt Merapi
Mount Merapi, the stratovolcano, is located on the border between the Central Java province and the particular region of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. The area sees a massive tourist footfall as the volcano is one of the go-to destinations for thrill-seekers.
Off-roading in the area also became one of the main attractions after the massive eruption in 2010. Other famous activities include a six-hour volcano hike, lava tour, sandboarding, and a jeep safari covering the vicinity. All these adventure activities have come to a standstill at the moment. However, the eruption unaffected other tourist attractions and flights around the area.
Characteristics of Mt Merapi:
Mt Merapi is one of some 500 volcanoes in Indonesia, from which at least 129 are active in the volcanic arc spread along the Asia-Pacific islands called the Ring of Fire. Living in the shadows of an active volcano is like sitting on a time bomb, especially when it is called the Fire Mountain or Mount Merapi, the volcano that dominates the center of Java.
Despite its frequent eruptions, Mt. Merapi is very central to the lives of the Javanese people and kings. Merapi spews lava, ash, and minerals to the surrounding areas through its eruptions. These provide nutrients to the soil, making this one of the most fertile areas in the world and, consequently, the most densely populated.
This majestic, perfectly cone-shaped volcano, with its peak at 2,911 meters above sea level, has also determined the lives of kings and realms. In the early 11th Century, the once-mighty ancient empire of Mataram mysteriously disappeared, and power suddenly shifted to East Java. Scientists surmise that a violent eruption of Merapi in 1006 AD was the ruin of the empire.
Key Points of Mt Merapi:
- Merapi (Mountain of Fire) is the most active of Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes.
- It rises to 2,911 meters and has steep slopes with dense vegetation on its lower sides.
- It is located near the center of the island of Java and Indonesia’s cultural capital, Yogyakarta.
- Mt Merapi’s last significant eruption was in 2010. More than 300 people were killed at that time, and some 2,80,000 residents were forced to evacuate the surrounding areas.
Is Mount Merapi a typical volcano?
Merapi is a typical active stratovolcano with sisters like Mount Fuji, Vesuvius, Rainier, and St. Helens. The so-called ‘Pacific Rim of Fire’ is the classic place for these volcanoes. The Cascades of the U.S. and the volcanoes of Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the west side of South America are all parts of the rim.
In these settings, one tectonic plate of Earth’s surface is subducted below another, forming a unique environment where gas-charged magmas are produced and rise to create the stratovolcanoes. Merapi is typical of these – though a bit hyperactive! It has the dubious distinction of having more dangerous ash flows than any other volcano.
Why do more volcanoes occur in Indonesia?
- Indonesia is located on the Ring of Fire, a vast area around the Pacific Ocean.
- It has over 17,000 islands and islets — and nearly 130 active volcanoes.
- The Ring of Fire, or the Circum-Pacific Belt, is a path along the Pacific Ocean characterized by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.
- The abundance of volcanoes and earthquakes along the Ring of Fire is caused by the movement of tectonic plates in the area.
- Along much of the Ring of Fire, plates overlap at convergent boundaries called subduction zones. That is, the scale that is underneath is pushed down, or subducted, by the plate above. As rock is subducted, it melts and becomes magma.
- The abundance of magma near the Earth’s surface gives rise to conditions ripe for volcanic activity.
- A significant exception is a border between the Pacific and North American Plates. This stretch of the Ring of Fire is a transform boundary, where plates move sideways past one another.
- This type of boundary generates many earthquakes as tension in Earth’s crust builds up and is released.
Trekking around Merapi is a popular activity (at least when the volcano isn’t spewing hot gas and ash). From Selo, the nearest village on the north slope, it is a 3-hour hike to the summit for the fit and healthy. For others, climbing will take more than 4 hours and nearly the same time to get back down again.
Carry a small pack with some food, a good flashlight with spare batteries (available for purchase in Selo village), and at least 2.5 liters of water per person. Also, bring warm clothes, a jacket, and perhaps gloves, since the wind and sweat can make you cold.
The track to the top is a reasonable grade, clearly defined, and easy to follow. Once through the tree line, the path is less defined, and the final climb to the summit (after the memorial plaque) is a very steep scramble over loose and broken rock.
While not dangerous, do take your time on the last section. It would help if you used GPS-based map offline apps on your phone like OsmAnd or Mapy. Because that already includes the tracks to the top of Merapi.
Most climbers start at about 00:30-01:00 to be sure of reaching the summit by sunrise at 05:30. Night climbing is wise in any case, as the upper reaches of the mountain are entirely treeless, and the sun can fry you to a crisp. The sunrise views across East Java are pretty stunning.
Pay attention on the way back since the trail is extremely slippery and easy to fall.
Merapi-type eruptions are more dangerous than Hawaiian eruptions because the magma in stratovolcanoes is charged with gas. As a result, when such magma finds a conduit to the surface, it can build up a sticky, hot, gas-rich plug known as a volcanic dome. The dome can build higher and higher, then suddenly collapse under its own weight.
This creates a hazardous mixture of hot gas, ash, and dome fragments that can flow downhill as much as 5-10 miles because of gravity, can wipe out anything on ridgetops because of the gas expansion, and can melt glaciers and mix with the meltwater to form very dangerous, hot and mobile mudflows.
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