Indonesia's Merapi volcano ejects towering column of ash

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Indonesia's Mount Merapi has shot a towering plume of ash about 6 kilometers (4 miles) high in an eruption authorities said lasted 2 minutes.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Friday the volcano's alert status, raised last month from the lowest level, is unchanged and a 3 kilometer no-go zone around the crater remains in force.

It said the eruption at 8.20 a.m. caused no panic and nearby Adi Sucipto Yogyakarta International Airport is still open to flights.

The mountain is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from center of Yogyakarta city on the densely populated island of Java.

About a quarter million people live within a 10 kilometer radius of the volcano.

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