Monday, December 7, 2015

MERBABU VOLCANO: Mysterious Mountain "Of Female" & "Ash"

LOCATION: Central Java, Indonesia
ERUPTION: Not Known well Since 1600
SUMMIT CLIMB: Syarif & Kenteng Songo Triangulasi

Merbabu is interested volcano for hiking or summit climbing. Merbabu volcano is larger then more popular Merapi volcano, today attracting more and more hikers - climber to climb it ridged summit. Merbabu volcano provides wide selection of starting points of volcano hike - climb, also hike through various mountain forest ecosytem and volcanic landscape before summit push climb.Administratively, Merbabu volcano located in Central Java province, Indonesia.

Merbabu volcano is standing side by side with Merapi volcano,Indonesian most active volcano. Both Merbabu volcano and Merapi volcano are separated by saddle of Selo, a popular hiking climbing basecamp for Merapi volcano summit climb, also normally as southern hiking base of Merbabu volcano summit climb.Until today,Merbabu volcano is wellknown by Indonesian hikers - climbers as volcano possesing greatest number of hiking - summit climbing route in Indonesia.Due to Merbabu strategic location among other volcanoes of Yogyakarta and Central Java, Merbabu is considered as ones of most beautiful volcano trek in Indonesia for it's surounding scenic "parade" volcano landscape panorama.

Mountain of Female & Ash:

Name of " Merbabu " it self was labeled to this volcano since colonial era (mostly known locally as era Hindia Belanda),previously the volcano was named Damalun or Pamrihan according ancient inscription Bujanga Manik (approx 15 century ). Means of Merbabu is still debatable,but there are at least two possibilities of meaning: first version, Merbabu consist of worlds Meru means mountain and Babu mean according to this first version, Merbabu mean Mountain of female.While second version, Merbabu consist of Meru mean mountain and awu or abu means ash. so according to this second version, Merbabu means "mountain of ash".

Mysterious B-Type Volcano:

For those doing research / study volcanism, Merbabu volcano is mysterious volcano due to very less data available concerning it's volcanic activities, particularly it's verified data of past eruptions.According to record of Global Volcanism Program Simthsonian Institution,last activity of Merbabu volcano was on 1767: erupted with scale VEI 2.Still according to it's record, previous relevant record was on 1560 but unknown scale of it's eruption.Another record was According to Mac Donald 1972,reported that on year 1797, Merbabu volcano erupted trough locally called Erupsi Samping (perhaps Linier Eruption ) and Erupsi Pusat (Central Eruption), but there was no relevant report concerning it's eruption impact such damage and victim of human being caused by the eruptions.

Therefore, Merbabu past eruption is not known well.In Indonesia, so far Merbabu was previously (published 1979) described as one of 8 doubtful A-type volcanoes according to Indonesia active volcano type classification.There fore, eruption of Merbabu volcano on 1797 ( van Hinloopen Labberton, 1921,p,154-158 ) was considered previously doubtful.according nature disaster analyses of Pedoman Analisis Bencana Alam: Study Kasus Jawa tenggah,Merbabu volcano is B-type active volcano.

It is worthy to mention that On relevant volcanical map,volcanoes A-type is indicated by symbol of volcano with red color, and volcanoes B-type indicated by symbol of volcano with yellow color.Merbabu possessing symbol with yellow color, mean active B-type.In 2014,when there was earthquake near by Merbabu, an Indonesian volcano expert (2014)as published by media, stated that eruption of Merbabu is not well known since year 1600.This statement strengthen the classification of Merbabu as B-type active volcano.

Best Highest View Point:

Merbabu is also known as old volcano that indicated by many summits due to natural erosion, but popular one for hiker - climber is summit Syarif 3119 m and summit Kenteng Songo Triangulasi 3142 m.Summit Syarif was previously called by local as Summit Pregodalem and considred as best view point of sunrise in the area.These summits are actually the highest point of Merbabu ridge.They are more flat, and well adapted vegetation still can grow well on this ridge.It is good to know for climbers,Kenteng Songo triangulasi is the best highest point to observe "closed up view"of most active Merapi volcano.The summit indicated by hollow rock locally called Kenteng Songo.From summits area down to altitude 2400 m is known well as Sub-alpin forest zone where most adapted plant dominated by bush and some of typically Javanese Edelweis flowers.

Old Crater Ridge:

Below summit zone, on north site is longer typically down and up ridge with gorges on it's left and right sides.Important points for hiking to be noted along the ridge is rock face traversing part and Ondo Rante heading to summit.Then Summit Syarif,and Geger Sapi Knoll,also Tungangan.These three spots are all good point of viewing scenic volcanic landscape of Merbabu and very wellknown by hikers climbers for their morning fantastic view.

Further down rather head for the west is volcanic craters and fumarola field of Merbabu which are dominated by bubbling water and rather muddy that made these sites rather impressive to take a look.Here you feel and experience typically old volcano environment atmospher that totally different to young Merapi volcano crater.By knowing it active volcano type classification and see it's real volcanic environment, visiting this old volcanic area make us more aware if Merbabu is actually "live".So be careful to say Merbabu is a normant as most people saying about Lawu volcano,a same type volcano to Merbabu.

Ecosystem & Archaeological Remain:

Along of more typically sub alpin ecosystem zone, some volcanic rock are still discovered along hiking trail, then cloudy mountain forest where more birds still singing and the hiking path is typically soily trail used to be hiked by hikers climber Merbabu.Some waterfall are still also discovered here,and play important role for human being and flora-fauna of this area.Further lower down around 2400 - 1500 m is mountainous tropical rain forest zone.

lower below 2000 m are also some of cultivated highfarmland that's managed by family of locals for life. On base of west flank of the volcano, via hiking route Wekas Kedakan.The locals mostly working as farmer,mostly implant vegetable and liitle implant tobacco.Socially cohesive,very helpful,best in welcoming and socializing to hikers visiting the area that always make their home "open" for guests. They have art performance, popular one is Wayang Jimat possessing long history of existence and normally performed only on certain time.These social - cultural aspect made Merbabu as unmissable volcano for most hikers climber traveling to Central Java and nearby central tourism of Yogyakarta.

On lower Slope of Merbabu volcano,an archaeological remain in form of Yoni also has been discovered, as well as ancient inscription Tuk Mas indicating this volcanic area had been inhabited since long time ago. Access to waterfall on this lower slope also has been provided for visitors that made this volcanic highland more worthy for a visit.


Article Contributed By Ambo Upe Olenk
Photo Contributed By Ambo Upe Olenk