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 The main hazard for the population living on the slopes of Merapi comes from pyroclasticflows or nue´es

ardentes that tumble down the slopes of the volcano and move forward along the river beds at a high speed.
Pyroclastic flows originate from the partial collapse of the dome of Merapi. They aremade of a large volume
of gas and of solid debris at high temperature and high pressure.

 This paper presents a summary of seismological observations atMerapi between 1983 and 1994, reviews the
results of seismic analysis and explores the relationship between seismicity and volcanic process. The
Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (VSI) usesMerapi as a pilot site for improving the forecast of eruptions
and the mitigation of volcanic hazards.

1. Seismic Network

Around 1924, a Wiechert mechanical seismograph was installed on the western flank of Merapi, at about 9 km from
the summit; it started the instrumental monitoring of seismicity and was used by Van Padang (1933) to notice the
increase of activity preceding the eruption of November 1930.

2. Karakteristik dari gempa Merapi

After the installation of the telemetered network and following the explosion of June 1984, a new classification of
events was proposed and is still in use: (1) volcanotectonic A or VTA; (2) volcanotectonic B or VTB; (3) multiphase
or MP; (4) low frequency or LF; (5) tremor; and (6) rock falls (guguran in Indonesian). Rock falls are characterized
by the fact that for a given amplitude of the signal, they have a duration 2–4 times longer than VTA or MP. In Fig. 2
 For VTA, the separation between S and P waves can be read easily on all stations: S–P time is larger than
0.5 s. VTA have a depth of the order of 2.5–5 km below the summit.
 VTB events have waveforms and frequencies somewhat similar to VTA (Fig. 3b) but S waves are more
difficult to pick, probably because of the smaller distance between source and receiver. VTB depth is smaller
than 1.5 km below the summit.
 MP and LF events are shallow events. A low frequency LF event has a dominant frequency of about 1.5 Hz
(fig 3c) which is constant at all stations.
 A multiphase or MP event is related to the formation of the dome. For a given amplitude, the duration of a
MP is about twice that of a VT event. The dominant frequency is between 3 and 4 Hz (Fig. 3d) and its
amplitude is strongly attenuated as a function of distance from the summit. The onsets of MP events are
emergent so it is difficult to read their arrival times and to locate their hypocentres.
 A tremor has a similar frequency content as a LF event (Fig. 3e). Its duration is much longer than the other
types of Merapi events: it can last from several minutes to several hours.
 A rock fall event is emergent and comes with a spindle shape. Its frequency is much higher than that of a
tremor and it looks like a high-frequency noise.

3. Overview of seismicity, 1983–1994

o Seismicity may be quantified by the rate of seismic events expressed as a number of events per day or per
month.Rock falls and MP are an indicator of the activity inside or just beneath the dome. VT are an indicator
of the activity deeper inside the volcano. Rock falls are generally more abundant than MP events. The
temporal variation of the number of MP and of rock falls dominates the seismic records. A clear correlation
is observed between MP and rock falls: it results from the fact that they are both related to dome growth.

o MP events are associated with lava effusion and to the increase in dome volume, whereas rock falls are
associated with instabilities and to the decrease in dome volume.

o The data available suggest that a rate of VT larger than one event per day may be significant as a precursor
to an increase in volcanic activity. If this rate of VT is exceeded during several days or weeks, attention
should be given to the possibility of an increase in volcanic hazard. However, major events like in 1986 and
1994 were not preceded by any increase in VT. Moreover, the fact that the duration of the precursory activity
in VT is so different—2 weeks for 1984 compared to 2 years for the 1992 eruption

o The occurrence of an eruption depends on the increase of pressure in the upper magmatic system and VT
activity does not give quantitative information on this parameter. During these repose periods, the rate of VT
decreased to less than one event per month and MP to only a few per day. However, during these repose
periods, rock falls continued, leaving open the question of the absence or continuation of growth of the dome
during a period without VT and MP.

4. Lokasi Gempabumi

On Merapi, MP and LF events are difficult to locate but are clearly in the near vicinity of the summit, just beneath the
dome. The fast decrease of the amplitude of MP as a function of distance to the summit attests of a location near the
crater. VTB events occur in a depth range from 0 to 1.5 km below the summit whereas VTA events originate in a
range between 2.5 and 5 km. There seems to be an aseismic zone centred at 1.5–2.5 km below the summit of Merapi
as already proposed by Ratdomopurbo (1991).
The separation in two depths is not dependent on the exact velocity used in the hypocentre determination. Actually,
this separation results from the distribution of the raw, non-interpreted, arrival times.

Ryan et al. (1981) observed such an aseismic zone at a depth of 6 km beneath Kilauea and interpreted it as a zone with
high magma to rock ratio. The aseismic zone of Merapi is positioned in between two seismic zones. The absence of
seismicity attests to the presence of a more ductile zone in between more brittle layers at a depth of 2 km. (more ductile
material implies high temperature).

Van Bemmelen (1949) has shown that the Kukusan fault is a key tectonic fault inside the Merapi: it is the basal fault
guiding the collapse of the edifice. The position of the aseismic zone is near the intersection of the Kukusan fault and
of a vertical line passing through the summit. Magma can accumulate near the intersection of the main conduit and of
the Kukusan fault. We speculate that this pocket may play the role of a valve slowing the upward migration of magma
rising up from the main deep magma chamber, thus attenuating the strength of explosive eruptions. Another difference
between VTA and VTB is that the rate of VTB is always greater than the rate of VTA; this may be due to a greater
fragmentation of the upper part of the volcano.

5. Erupsi 1984

An explosion occurred on Merapi in June 1984 (Sudrajat and Siswowidjojo, 1987). A first VTA earthquake was
recorded on 27 May 1984, less than 3 weeks before the explosion, and can be considered as a precursory event.

6. Erupsi 1994

 Creeping Block
The active block had a volume of about 100,000 m3 and moved to the south-west with a velocity of about 0.2
m/day. it achieved its maximum velocity of 0.6 m/day. Then the block started to crack. The frontal part of
the cracked block collapsed, producing rock falls. When the volume of the falling material was sufficiently
high, small pyroclastic flows were formed.

 Birth of the 1994 dome


At the end of March 1994, a small new growing lava dome had taken the position of the block (Fig. 10b). During this
period, many rock falls were recorded on seismograms.

 Rapid dome growth

In May 1994, the dome started to grow up rapidly, expanding laterally and vertically (Fig. 10c). During this phase
many MP events occurred with a maximum rate of 80 events per day in May 1994, decreasing to 20 events per day in
August 1994.

 Stable dome and eruption of 22 November 1994

In Late August 1994, the rate of rock falls decreased suddenly, suggesting that the growth of the dome had ceased
(Fig. 4). The number of rock falls was very small. The dome interior was not solidified and the dome was quasi-stable.
7. Discussion and Conclusion

 Present seismological observations on Merapi provide two key types of information. The VT activity is an
indicator on the magma and fluid transfer deep inside the volcano We do not observe earthquakes deeper than 5
km and there is an aseismic gap near 1.5–2.5 km. MP events and rock falls are an indicator on the growth and on
the activity inside or below the dome.

 For VT activity, we can distinguish eruptive activity with VT events or without VT events. The 1984 and 1992
eruptions were preceded by swarms of VT events whereas the 1986 and 1994 eruptive episodes were not preceded
by VT events. The main characteristics of 1984 and 1992 is that they are explosive events: material was ejected
from the crater vertically as well as horizontally.

 The strength of the 1984 explosion plume was such that ash was carried to a distance of 80 km. The 1992
explosion was less powerful because it was preceded by gas release and small lava flows. The driving mechanism
for an explosion is gas pressure. The 22 November 1994 event corresponds to a gravitational collapse of the
dome: there was no precursor that could explain what triggered the destabilisation of the dome. (bisa karena small
flow of magma or by an increase of gas pressure)

 Each eruption from the limited period we observe can be divided into different stages (see Fig. 13). The first
stage is dominated by the presence of an existing lava dome that has been nearly stable for several years. VTB
activity supports the transfer of magma pressure and of hot volatiles to shallow levels beneath the summit

 The second stage is an explosive eruption which may be preceded by small pyroclastic flows and gas release.
The construction of a first dome can end this phase. Then the volcano has a relatively long period of repose of the
order of several months or 1 year. After this quiet period, activity resumes; new lava pours from the conduit and
builds up a new lava dome. The height of this dome may reach a maximum that corresponds to hydrostatic
equilibrium.
 The excess of pressure provokes the opening of the conduit and the ejection of old dome material. A vertical
plume is associated with this phase and ash may be spread over large distances. The conduit being open, fluid
magma flows freely outside the conduit and falls down over the slope of the volcano. Soon after, lava viscosity
increases and a new dome build up. pressure is building up slowly inside, maybe because of a process of
crystallisation of volatile rich magma

 The dome solidifies gradually but is not very stable because it stands on a steep slope. It can be destabilised by
gravity when an internal force creates an imbalance or when modifications of its physical properties are induced
by an external factor like rain. This phase is dangerous and difficult to monitor because the collapse of the dome
is not necessarily preceded by any seismological or geophysical precursor.

 A multidisciplinary approach to Merapi monitoring is a necessity; seismology only “sees” a small fraction of the
events that take place inside the volcano and it can be blind to an exceptional event. Long term precise deformation
measurements, near the summit and also on the flanks are extremely important to understand the physics of the
volcano (Young et al. 2000 – this volume).