Death Toll from Indonesian Volcano Tops 100

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More than 100 people were killed Friday by another eruption from Indonesia's most volatile volcano.

The latest volcanic explosion from Mount Merapi was six times more powerful than the last, and spewed blistering gas and volcanic ash much farther than expected.

Even nine miles from the crater, houses were incinerated by the 1,400-degree gas clouds.

Soldiers worked through the night, pulling many severely injured people from their smoldering homes. Dozens were carried away on stretchers in what was the deadliest day Mount Merapi has seen in close to eight decades.
      
"We're totally overwhelmed here!" said Heru Nogroho, a spokesman at the Sardjito hospital, as the number of bodies dropped off at their morgue climbed to 54.

Authorities had predicted earlier that the dozens of explosions that followed Merapi's initial Oct. 26 blast would lessen the pressure behind a magma dome.  

Nevertheless, to the bafflement of experts who have long monitored Merapi, subsequent eruptions have only intensified.

"I don't want to speculate if there's going to be a bigger eruption," said Syamsu Rizal, a state expert on volcanos. "But there's no indication at stage that we're going to see it see quiet down at all in the near future."

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