Mayon Volcano 'fireworks' draw tourists as residents flee

Jan 17, 2018, 02:03
Mayon Volcano 'fireworks' draw tourists as residents flee

"Mayon's summit crater is now exhibiting bright crater glow that signifies the growth of a new lava dome and beginnings of lava flow towards the southern slopes", the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

Renato Solidum, who heads the volcanology institute, said the flows cascading down the volcano were not generated by an explosion from the crater with superheated lava, molten rocks and steam, but were caused by lava fragments breaking off from the lava flow and crashing on the lower slopes.

"It's risky if people will be left behind", Solidum said of villagers who stay to watch over their homes within a permanent danger zone around the volcano.

"Alert Level 3 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano, which means that it is now in a relatively high level of unrest and that magma is at the crater, and that a hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days", declared PHIVOLCS in its latest bulletin on Mayon Volcano.

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Albay province emergency response official Cedric Daep said at least 9,000 people have been moved from high-risk areas in an ongoing evacuation.

Based on the seasonal wind pattern, ash fall events may most likely occur on the southwest side of the volcano.

Experts fear a major eruption could trigger pyroclastic flows. Increased vigilance against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden streamflows along channels draining the edifice is also advised.

The agency announced that it will raise the alert level to 4 if there is an indication of a hazardous explosion.

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Mayon lies in coconut-growing Albay province about 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila.

Mayon, a near-perfect cone that also draws thousands of tourists during its periods of quiet, rises 2,460 meters (8,070 feet) above Legazpi, a city of about 200,000 people surrounded by a largely agricultural region. Its first recorded eruption was in 1616 while the most destructive occurred in 1814, when 1,200 people were killed and the town of Cagsawa was buried.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people.

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