Guest Video: Climbing Mount Marapi, Sumatra


No, not deadly Merapi — that headline-generating volcano is on Java. Sticking with our focus on Sumatra, we’re about to climb this island’s most active volcano, Marapi, in the Barisan Mountains.

Per the Global Volcanism Program, Marapi has a much lower level of activity than its Javanese relative:

Gunung Marapi, not to be confused with the better-known Merapi volcano on Java, is Sumatra’s most active volcano. This massive complex stratovolcano rises 2000 m above the Bukittinggi plain in the Padang Highlands. A broad summit contains multiple partially overlapping summit craters constructed within the small 1.4-km-wide Bancah caldera. The summit craters are located along an ENE-WSW line, with volcanism migrating to the west. More than 50 eruptions, typically consisting of small-to-moderate explosive activity, have been recorded since the end of the 18th century; no lava flows outside the summit craters have been reported in historical time.

And if you’re young, urban, and live nearby, Marapi is an exciting goal to focus on:



The volcano last erupted in June 2018. Its alert level is still elevated.

Here are some resources for further information:

  • Monitoring. This site is in Indonesian, but if you want to check out Marapi’s current status, it’s a useful resource.

    Where’s Marapi on that map? Here:



    By the way, that lighter blue around the islands of Indonesia is the rest of Sundaland. Just now, it happens to be underwater but has often been dry land over the last million years. We’ll get into that a bit more this Tuesday with a look at the rainforest and the ice ages.


  • Wikipedia page
  • Trip Advisor page


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