Halo teman! This verb is really impressive! And I would say yes, it has near the same use as the word "adalah", but with additional functions. According to a grammar text, "merupakan" is formed as an active verb by using "me--kan" and the root word "rupa" that means "form", "figure", "aspect", "appearance", between other meanings. A big difference with "adalah" is that can be combined with modifiers as "telah", "sudah", "akan", so the aspect (perfective) and the tense meaning can be stressed, while "adalah" has a kind of rigid equation, and cannot accept those markers; "adalah" is negated with "bukan", while "merupakan", as a full verb, can accept "tidak" or "bukan", also can accept the modal "bisa"; other difference but perhaps not always respected (as I have seen some texts using "merupakan" + adjectives in the predicate), is that "adalah" can be linked with adjectives (as a copulative verb), but "merupakan" can only accept nouns, nouns phrases (edit: it cannot accept a proper noun, a pronoun, or a demonstrative as the only agent) in the predicate. I will try to give some links or to mention the book from the Google site, perhaps to compare with other grammar concepts and reviews about Indonesian verbs.
http://cslipublications.stanford.edu/HPSG/2016/headlex2016-mbm.pdf (16 pages)
http://nlp.ipipan.waw.pl/HeadLex16/moeljadi_etal.pdf (5 pages)
http://compling.hss.ntu.edu.sg/who/david/slides/ISMIL19_davidmoeljadi.pdf (a more extensive analysis, including zero copula, "adalah", "ialah", "merupakan", "menjadi", 44 pages)
From Google Books:
Selamat belajar! :)
Dan halo depan kamu! What an interesting verb. I would not have known one could not use the adverbs with adalah. Thanks especially for the bibliography. The couple of articles I started looking at are quite interesting, indeed.
Terima kasih banyak! I love reading the nitty gritty stuff like this. Helps to concrete the language into my memory.