Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia erupts as video shows lava and searing clouds

Lava and searing gas clouds can be seen flowing 1,500 metres down a volcano as it erupted in Indonesia.

It was Mount Merapi’s biggest lava flow since authorities raised its danger level in November, said Hanik Humaida, the head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center.

In November, nearly 2,000 people living on the mountain in Magelang and Sleman districts on Java Island were evacuated but most have returned.

There have been no evacuations due to the most recent eruption.

A volunteer uses his walkie talkie as he monitors Mount Merapi during an eruption in Sleman, Indonesia Credit: AP/Slamet Riyadi

Authorities have told people to stay out of the three-mile danger zone around the crater and an alert is being maintained at the second-highest level.

Authorities in Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces are closely monitoring the situation.

The 2,968-metre volcano is the most active of dozens of Indonesian volcanoes and has repeatedly erupted with lava and gas clouds recently.

Hot lava runs down from the crater of Mount Merapi, partially seen behind a mosque in Sleman, Indonesia Credit: AP/Slamet Riyadi

Mount Merapi's last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people.

The mountain is on the densely populated island of Java and near the ancient city of Yogyakarta.

Indonesia, which consists of more than 17,000 islands, sits along the "Ring of Fire", a horseshoe-shaped path along the Pacific Ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.