Mayon exhibiting 2001 strong eruption pattern – Philvolcs

LEGAZPI CITY -- The pattern of the 2001 Mayon eruption is being exhibited by the volcano at present, based on the earthquakes recorded.

This means that any eruption this time is stronger than the previous 2006 and 2009 explosions, Ed Laguerta, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) resident volcanologist, explained Wednesday.

Mayon volcano’s seismic network recorded 45 volcanic earthquakes and 270 rock fall events during the past 24-hour observation period.

Data recorded on Monday night showed 32 volcanic earthquakes and 72 rock fall events during the same observation period.

This prompted the Phivolcs to hoist Alert Level 3 status of Mayon volcano at 10 p.m. Monday.

The activities were also characterized by the presence of incandescent volcanic materials that are now rolling down the slopes within the southeast quadrant of the volcano, a parameter that, Laguerta said, might lead to successive and hazardous eruptions in the next few days or weeks.

“When we say level 3, it can lead to hazardous eruption. The risk of hazardous eruption may occur within the window of few days or weeks so we have to prepare because as of the moment, Mayon is having a quiet stage of eruption. We’re reiterating the ‘no man’s land policy’,” the volcanologist said.

He added that lava dome is getting bigger with sustained inflation so explosion may take place as magma continues to push up within the summit.

“Initially fragments might hit in the southeast position towards the town of Sto. Domingo and Legazpi City,” Laguerta said.

Like in the previous night, Intensity III (bright) crater glow was also visible on Tuesday night, although rain clouds prevented visual observation of the crater during the day.

“Mayon exhibited the 2001 pattern of earthquakes. The 2001 explosion is strong with big pressure beneath the volcano, meaning, we’re expecting larger or bigger eruption compared to 2006 and 2009,” he said.

Laguerta said this means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks.

“It is recommended that the six-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km-radius Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeastern flank be enforced due to the danger of rock falls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows," he said. -- Rhaydz B. Barcia (PNA)

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