Journal Highlights

What Feeds Indonesia’s Destructive Mud Eruption?

Research Spotlight—

New advances in seismic investigations suggest links in plumbing between nearby magma volcanoes and a mud-erupting system that has been spewing for more than a decade.

On 29 May 2006, a mud eruption in East Java in Indonesia burst through the ground. It spewed enough hot, steaming mud to eventually cover about 7 square kilometers of land, forcing almost 60,000 people to abandon their villages. And it is still erupting. The Lusi mudflow continues to release 80,000 cubic meters of mud per day.

Since 2006, intensive research has revealed key geological insights into the eruption, but many questions (including whether drilling or an earthquake triggered it) remain. A new study by Fallahi et al. provides a fresh perspective, revealing connections between the plumbing of the Lusi mudflow and that of nearby magmatic volcanoes....more

Press Release—

Scientists determine source of world’s largest mud eruption

On May 29, 2006, mud started erupting from several sites on the Indonesian island of Java. Boiling mud, water, rocks and gas poured from newly-created vents in the ground, burying entire towns and compelling many Indonesians to flee. By September 2006, the largest eruption site reached a peak, and enough mud gushed on the surface to fill 72 Olympic-sized swimming pools daily.

Indonesians frantically built levees to contain the mud and save the surrounding settlements and rice fields from being covered. The eruption, known as Lusi, is still ongoing and has become the most destructive ongoing mud eruption in history. The relentless sea of mud has buried some villages 40 meters (130 feet) deep and forced nearly 60,000 people from their homes. The volcano still periodically spurts jets of rocks and gas into the air like a geyser. It is now oozing around 80,000 cubic meters (3 million cubic feet) of mud each day – enough to fill 32 Olympic-sized pools.

Now, more than 11 years after it first erupted, researchers may have figured out why the mudflows haven’t stopped: deep underground, Lusi is connected to a nearby volcanic system…More

-- Sarah Stanley, Freelance Writer,