Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Without warning, Mount Merapi erupted this morning in central Java, spewing ash and lava up to 2,000m into the sky.
No one was killed in the eruption so far, but the event has sparked fear among local residents because of the danger of the dust cloud falling on houses and fields.
Mount Merapi ("mountain of fire" in the local language) is in the heart of Java, about 26 km from the city of Yogyakarta, a very densely populated area, and is Indonesia's most active and dangerous volcano.
In October-November 2010, it erupted several times, killing hundreds of people. Before that, it erupted in 1930 (with 1,400 deaths) and 1994 (70 deaths).
According to National Disaster Management spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, today's eruption was "triggered" by a number of tectonic shocks following an earthquake that hit the area.
Days of heavy rain compounded the problem as the latter quickly turned into "steam", accelerating the eruption.