Mount Merapi, Indonesia: Indonesia`s most dangerous volcano forced international airlines to cancel flights to nearby airports Tuesday, as fiery lava lit the rumbling mountain`s cauldron and plumes of smoke blackened the sky.
Scientists warned, meanwhile, that the slow but deadly eruption could continue for weeks, like a "marathon, not a sprint."
No casualties were reported in Mount Merapi`s latest blasts, which came as Indonesia struggled to respond to an earthquake-generated tsunami that devastated a remote chain of islands. The two disasters unfolding in separate parts of the country have killed nearly 470 people and strained the government`s emergency response network.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 235 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanos because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the western and eastern Pacific.
Merapi — one of 22 active volcanos now on alert — has killed 38 people since springing back to life just over a week ago, at times forcing the temporary closure of two nearby airports.
Officials in Yogyakarta, the gateway to the famed 9th-century Borobudur temples visited by 1 million tourists a year, and nearby Solo, have cited poor visibility and heavy ash on the runway.