Instrumental lahar monitoring at Merapi Volcano, Central Java, Indonesia

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
By: , and 



More than 50 volcanic debris flows or lahars were generated around Mt Merapi during the first rainy season following the nuees ardentes of 22 November 1994. The rainfalls that triggered the lahars were analyzed, using such instruments as weather radar and telemetered rain gauges. Lahar dynamics were also monitored, using new non-contact detection instrumentation installed on the slopes of the volcano. These devices include real-time seismic amplitude measurement (RSAM), seismic spectral amplitude measurement (SSAM) and acoustic flow monitoring (AFM) systems. Calibration of the various systems was accomplished by field measurements of flow velocities and discharge, contemporaneously with instrumental monitoring.

The 1994–1995 lahars were relatively short events, their duration in the Boyong river commonly ranging between 30 min and 1 h 30 min. The great majority (90%) of the lahars was recognized at Kaliurang village between 13:00 and 17:30 h, due to the predominance of afternoon rainfalls. The observed mean velocity of lahar fronts ranged between 1.1 and 3.4 m/s, whereas the peak velocity of the flows varied from 11 to 15 m/s, under the Gardu Pandang viewpoint location at Kaliurang, to 8–10 m/s at a section 500 m downstream from this site. River slopes vary from 28 to 22 m/km at the two sites. Peak discharges recorded in various events ranged from 33 to 360 m3/s, with the maximum value of peak discharge 360 m3/s, on 20 May 1995. To improve the lahar warning system along Boyong river, some instrumental thresholds were proposed: large and potentially hazardous lahars may be detected by RSAM units exceeding 400, SSAM units exceeding 80 on the highest frequency band, or AFM values greater than 1500 mV on the low-gain, broad-band setting.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Instrumental lahar monitoring at Merapi Volcano, Central Java, Indonesia
Series title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
DOI 10.1016/S0377-0273(00)00151-7
Volume 100
Issue 1-4
Year Published 2000
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
First page 457
Last page 478
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