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MountMerapiErupts03.jpg
FILE PHOTO: Lava pours from a bulging lava dome atop Mount Merapi on the evening of 12 May 2006. The emergent, visible dome is an unusual feature of Merapi--most "plug dome" or "stratovolcanoes" of this sort hide welling magma beneath a solid summit surface, forcing pressure to build until the volcano unleashes a catastrophic "BOOM!".  The longer the dome builds, the more likely it is to dislodge a flank of the peak and unleash a large eruption that tears through nearby villages. 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.