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Indonesian volcano churns out more lava, heat clouds
JAKARTA, June 5 (AFP) Jun 05, 2006
Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano maintained a high level of activity for a ninth straight day Monday since an earthquake rocked the region, sending heat clouds and lava trails down its slopes.

In the first six hours of Monday, the smouldering peak spewed out 118 lava trails and 73 heat clouds, according to data released by the vulcanology office in Yogyakarta, the main city in the quake zone.

Thick clouds shrouding Merapi obscured the view of most of the volcano's activity, the report said.

On Sunday, Merapi belched out nearly 400 red-hot lava flows, plumes of smoke stretching 900 meters (2,534 feet) into the sky and 118 heat clouds, some of them drifting two kilometers (one mile) down the peak.

Subandriyo, the head of the Merapi section at the Yogyakarta vulcanology office, said authorities were still observing a red alert at the peak, first declared on May 13.

Geologists have said that some four million cubic meters of magma have now accumulated atop the volcano, almost double the volume recorded in the pre-quake period.

Heru, who works at an observation post on the volcano's southern slope, said the high level of volcanic activity meant that excess magma was collapsing from the rim of the dome as fresh magma rose up from within the peak.

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