Mayon: alert level raised, evacuation plans aired 12 July 2009Posted by admin in activity reports, Mayon, Philippines.
Tags: Mayon, Philippines, volcanic activity reports
Unrest is continuing at Mayon volcano on the Philippine island of Luzon. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Phivolcs, raised the alert level on 10 July from Alert Level 1 (low level unrest) to Alert Level 2 (moderate unrest). The Phivolcs bulletin explains:
Beginning June 2009 monitored parameters indicated an increase in the current activity of Mayon Volcano. The number of recorded low frequency volcanic earthquakes rose to a higher level signifying possible movement of magma beneath the volcano edifice at shallow depth. The present seismic count is at the same level when a phreatic explosion occurred last August 2008. Ground uplift of about one centimeter was measured by Precise Leveling Survey conducted last June 15-22, 2009 and the uplift was sustained during a re-survey yesterday, July 9, 2009. Glow at the summit crater has intensified and could now be observed at Lignon Hill Observatory without the aid of telescopes. Steam emission was at moderate level.
Aerial survey conducted last July 08, 2009, showed a cone-shaped pile of hot, steaming old rocks, possibly remnants from previous eruptions which could be the source of the glow at the crater. The low frequency volcanic earthquakes and ground uplift could indicate that fresh volcanic materials are moving upward at depth, causing the formation of the cone-shaped pile of materials at the crater.
The 6 km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and a 7 km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the south-eastern flank have both been declared off-limits by Phivolcs because of the danger of explosions and lahars. According to a report in the Philippine Star, Mayon’s current behaviour is leading Phivolcs to warn of a potentially hazardous explosive eruption:
Ed Laguerta, resident volcanologist for Bicol of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said unlike the 2006 eruption that was characterized by slow-paced lava flow, the present condition of Mayon could lead to a hazardous eruption and it would be dominated by pyroclastic flow, a very hot gaseous volcano material ranging from 300- to 1000- degrees celcius in temperature and travels faster than lava.
According to one news report, some 500 people living in small villages within the 6 km danger zone are to be evacuated this weekend, while another report says that residents of the town of Guinobatan are already leaving their homes in fear of an eruption. Yesterday the same station was reporting that the Governor of Albay Province (where Mayon is located) had said that nearly 7000 people would need to be evacuated if the volcano’s unrest escalates and Phivolcs raises the Alert Level to 3:
In the latest situational report on Mayon’s activity issued on Saturday by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), [Albay Governor] Salceda said that 1,675 families or 6,996 persons will be evacuated from villages near the volcano once the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) hoists Alert Level 3 in the area.
Plans are being put in place for a possible evacuation, including the identification of schools to be used as evacuation centres and the dissemination of information among the local population. Philippine President Arroyo has stepped in and ‘reminded Secretaries Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (Defense) and Esperanza Cabral (Social Welfare) of the government’s “zero casualty” policy’.
Mayon now under alert level 2, Phivolcs says – GMANews.TV, 10 July 2009
500 residents around Mayon face evacuation – Inquirer.net, 10 July 2009
7,000 to be evacuated if Mayon activity heightens – GMANews.TV, 11 July 2009
7,000 around Mayon ready for evacuation – Inquirer.net, 11 July 2009
PHIVOLCS watches Mayon closely – Philippine Star, 12 July 2009
Arroyo moves to ensure welfare of Mayon folk – GMANews.TV, 12 July 2009
Hard-headed farmers at Mayon’s danger zone won’t be evacuated – Business Mirror, 12 July 2009
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs