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Mayon still quiet: Phivolcs considers lowering alert level to 2 12 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Mayon, Philippines, volcano tourism.
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Mayon volcano on Luzon remains quiet following its burst of activity last month. The latest Phivolcs bulletin for Mayon, no. 30 of 12 January 2010, reports low seismic activity and ‘weak to moderate emission of white steam’ at the summit crater, with a pale glow visible at the crater overnight. Ground deformation measurements show a deflationary trend compared with early December 2009. Sulphur dioxide emissions have been variable over the past few days: 672 tons/day on 6 January, 1,077 tons/day on 7 January 7, 1,345 tons/day on 8 January, 759 tons/day on 9 January and 820 tons/day on 11 January. The danger of explosions remains, and Phivolcs warns that ‘the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone on the southeast flank of the volcano should be free from human activity because of sudden explosions that may generate hazardous volcanic flows’.

The Inquirer reports that Phivolcs ‘could downgrade the alert level of Mayon Volcano from 3 to level 2 within a week’s time should the abnormal condition of the volcano continue to wane’. Meanwhile the United Nations Development Program has praised the response of the Albay Provincial Disaster Co-ordinating Council to the Mayon emergency. ‘I have worked in disaster situations in many countries around the world and, in my own professional opinion, the provincial preparedness and planning is amongst the best that I’ve seen … I believe it could make a good case study for disaster management training’, says the UN’s John English.

The show Mayon has put on over the last month has certainly been good for local tourism, says the Philippine Information Agency. Tourism and hotel occupancy rates surged compared with December 2008 as thousands of people visited Albay province to see the eruption, although that doesn’t mean that the volcanic activity was, overall, a good thing: the ‘benefits of disaster tourism are simply outweighed by the actual destruction on the livelihoods, crops and properties’. Also putting Mayon’s recent restlessness in perspective is Tito Genova Valiente at Vox Bikol, who reflects on perceptions of Mayon from the nineteenth century to the present: ‘Mayon is really part of Nature, invasive and majestic perhaps, but still indicative of the workings of the Earth’.

For all our Mayon coverage: Mayon « The Volcanism Blog.

UNDP hails Albay’s Mayon disaster preparedness program – Vox Bikol, 9 January 2010
Re-visiting Mayon – Vox Bikol, 9 January 2010
Mayon still emitting gas – PhivolcsPhilippine Daily Inquirer, 9 January 2010
Mayon eruption brings biggest surge of tourists to Albay – Philippine Information Agency, 11 January 2010
Mayon’s alert level may be lowered to 2Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 January 2010

Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs

The Volcanism Blog