The geodynamic setting and geological context of Merapi volcano in Central Java, Indonesia

Agung Harijoko*, Gayatri Indah Marliyani, Haryo Edi Wibowo, Yan Restu Freski, Esti Handini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Mount (Mt.) Merapi is a Quaternary stratovolcano situated on the active volcanic front in Central Java. It is a part of the active volcanic arc chain of Java Island formed by the Sunda-Banda subduction of the Indo-Australian oceanic plate beneath the Eurasian continental plate. The volcanic activity of Merapi shows a recurring pattern of eruptive events, with a background of frequent Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) 1–2 eruptions approximately every 4–5 years, interrupted by more violent (VEI 3–4) eruption episodes every few decades. As one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, Mt. Merapi draws admiration and fear from many Indonesians and the world. The volcano plays a significant role in understanding the Quaternary volcanism in Java, as it has been continuously erupting since the historical records began. Located within the Central Java depression zone, Mt. Merapi is bound by the Southern Mountains Zone to the south and the Kendeng and Rembang zones to the north. The basement of Mt. Merapi is composed of limestones of the Sentolo Formation and Tertiary volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks of the Nglanggran and Semilir formations. The region is dissected by several larger fault systems, namely the Progo Muria Fault and the Opak River Fault. Mt. Merapi and the Merbabu-Telomoyo-Ungaran volcanoes (located to the north of Merapi) follow a NW–SE-trend, similar in orientation to the regional fault systems, suggesting that geological structures control the emplacement of magma and its ascent to the surface. Tomographic studies underneath Mt. Merapi also indicate the presence of a NW–SE trending gravity anomaly that may represent a wider, more regional extent of the magma reservoir beneath the Merapi-Merbabu-Telomoyo-Ungaran volcanic chain.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMerapi Volcano
Subtitle of host publicationGeology, Eruptive Activity, and Monitoring of a High-Risk Volcano
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-15040-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-15039-5
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameActive Volcanoes of the World
ISSN (Print)2195-3589
ISSN (Electronic)2195-7029


  • Geodynamic setting
  • Merapi
  • Regional geology
  • Sunda arc
  • ITC-CV
  • n/a OA procedure


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