Edifice deformations are reported here for the period 1988–1995 at Merapi volcano, one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in Indonesia. The study period includes a major resumption in lava effusion in January 1992 and a major dome collapse in November 1994. The data comprise electronic distance measurements (EDM) on a summit trilateration network, slope distance changes measured to the upper flanks, and other data collected from 1988 to 1995. A major consequence of this study is the documentation of a significant 4-year period of deformation precursory to the 1992 eruption. Cross-crater strain rates accelerated from less than 3×10−6/day between 1988 and 1990 to more than 11×10−6/day just prior to the January 1992 activity, representing a general, asymmetric extension of the summit during high-level conduit pressurization. After the vent opened and effusion of lava resumed, strain occurred at a much-reduced rate of less than 2×10−6/day. EDM measurements between lower flank benchmarks and the upper edifice indicate displacements as great as 1 m per year over the four years before the 1992 eruption. The Gendol breach, a pronounced depression formed by the juxtaposition of old lava coulées on the southeast flank, functioned as a major displacement discontinuity. Since 1993, movements have generally not exceeded the 95% confidence limits of the summit network. Exceptions to this include 12 cm outward movement for the northwest crater rim in 1992–1993, probably from loading by newly erupted dome lava, and movements as much as 7 cm on the south flank between November 1994 and September 1995. No short-term precursors were noted before the November 1994 lava dome collapse, but long-term adjustments of crater geometry accompanied lava dome growth in 1994. Short-term 2-cm deflation of the edifice occurred following the November 1994 dome collapse.
Additional publication details
Ground deformation at Merapi Volcano, Java, Indonesia: distance changes, June 1988-October 1995