We covered the term gunung api (volcano) in a previous post, and as you may well know, Indonesia is covered with them. On February 19, Gunung Sinabung in Northern Sumatra erupted violently. Images and video of the eruption provide a rather terrifying reminder of what this tectonically unsettled island arc is capable of. Fortunately, the eruption area was zoned off-limits which miraculously resulted in no immediate reported injuries or deaths, but the ash it produced is extremely dangerous. When inhaled, it can lead to respiratory issues. When mixed with heavy rainfall, it can lead to secondary disasters such as lahar flows.
Today’s words are focused on volcanoes and safety.
Meletus /me·le·tus/ v. Eruption. From the root verb letus which means ‘to explode.’
Example headline: Gunung Sinabung Meletus Hebat Pagi Ini : Mt. Sinabung’s Great Eruption This Morning (from Liputan6).
Gunung berapi yang sedang meletus akan sangat berbahaya : An erupting volcano will be very dangerous.
Masker /mas·ker/ n. A facemask that covers the nose and mouth, as used by doctors and nurses at hospitals to prevent inhalation of large particles. Public safety officials and aid agencies distribute them after major eruptions in Indonesia. The same word is used for beauty masks (also very popular in Indonesia).
Setelah meletus gunung api, kita harus pakai masker dan berhati-hati : After a volcano erupts, we must wear masks and be careful.
Lahar /la·har/ n. A type of mudflow, often containing large stones and boulders, consisting of volcanic ash mixed with rainwater. Lahar is originally an Indonesian term but has entered the vocabulary of science in the U.S. and internationally. Anywhere in the world when a mass wasting event occurs due to the mixing of ash and water, it is called a lahar. They are extremely hazardous secondary effects of widespread ashfall following a volcanic eruption that can destroy and bury anything in their path.
So far, no lahar has been reported at Mt. Sinabung, but that could change as the rain comes. As always, stay safe and make sure to obey precautions when traveling to or living near a disaster-prone area.
Lahar examples from previous eruptions in Indonesia: