Phivolcs: Phreatic explosion recorded on Mayon

By Mar Serrano

LEGAZPI CITY -- Mayon Volcano spewed ash plumes in a "phreatic explosion" on Sunday noon, to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

In a text message to reporters, Phivolcs resident volcanologist Dr. Ed Laguerta said the phreatic explosion occurred at around 12:34 p.m. Sunday where it spewed white to light gray ash clouds about 500 meters high.

“The explosion happened following a downpour where the ash emitted by was considered as minimal,” Laguerta said. He said the phreatic explosion on Sunday "back up our recommendation not to lower the alert status of Mayon volcano as it is still exhibiting signs of abnormalities though the trend of restiveness is moving from moderate level of unrest to quiet period or normalcy".

In an earlier interview, Laguerta told members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) that the agency could not yet give the green light to lower the alert status of two active volcanoes in the Bicol region (Mayon and Bulusan) as they still display signs of restiveness.

According to Laguerta, Mayon volcano has still displayed fair crater glows, sulfur dioxide emission of 1287 tonnes a day was way beyond its normal level while geodetic data gathered indicates bulging at the volcano’s edifice.

He said parameters such as crater glows, high gas emission and inflated edifice are still signs that magma and gas pressures are present.

Mayon's alert status remains at Level 2 which means that the volcano is at a moderate level of unrest.

The public is warned that sudden explosions, lava collapses, pyroclastic density currents and ashfall can still occur and threaten areas in the upper to middle slopes of Mayon.

The public is advised not to enter the six kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone or PDZ and a precautionary seven kilometer-radius Extended Danger Zone or EDZ in the south-southwest to east-northeast sector, stretching from Anoling, Camalig to Sta. Misericordia, Sto. Domingo must be strictly prohibited. (PNA)