Mountains

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A solftara hundreds of meters high billows from the summit of Mount Merapi, by dawn's first light on 10 May 2006. Steam and sulfurous gases rise from a lava dome growing 50,000 cubic meters per day and now measuring some 1.3 million cubic meters. Scientists and seers alike feel confident an eruption is imminent--the question remains when. The longer the dome builds, the more likely it will dislodge a flank of the peak and unleash a violent explosion. Home to 20,000 people, and one of the most active volcanoes in the "ring of fire", Merapi is rated as one of 15 of the world's most hazardous volcanoes, according to the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth.