YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA - Indonesia's Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted on Saturday, March 11, spewing out smoke and ash that blanketed villages near the crater.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, the country's disaster mitigation agency said.
Images broadcast on local outlet Kompas TV showed ash-covered houses and roads at a village near the volcano, located on Java Island, near Indonesia's cultural capital Yogyakarta.
The Merapi Volcano Observatory estimated the ash cloud reached 3,000 meters above the summit.
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Authorities established a restricted zone of seven kilometers from the crater after the eruption, which was recorded at 12:12 p.m. local time.
"To anticipate potential danger from Mount Merapi eruption, the public is advised to stop any activities in the potential danger area," agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said in a statement on Saturday, March 11.
Nearby residents should also expect "disruptions" from ash and be aware of potential dangers from volcanic mudflow, particularly if it rains near the volcano, Muhari said.
At least eight villages near the volcano have been affected by volcanic ash, an officer at one of Merapi's observation posts said in a statement.
The volcano's last major eruption in 2010 killed more than 300 people and forced the evacuation of some 280,000 residents.
Indonesia, which has nearly 130 active volcanoes, sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.
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