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Mayon update, 17 December 2009 17 December 2009

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Nice to see that the Phivolcs website is actually working now. Yesterday’s Mayon bulletin can be found here.

Phivolcs is reported to be considering raising the alert level for Mayon from 3 to 4, ‘hazardous eruption imminent’. Governor Salceda of Albay has said that the situation ‘is now almost alert level 4’, and Albay has declared a ‘state of calamity’ which will enable it to anticipate a raised alert level and increase the resources available to deal with the Mayon emergency. An overflight is planned to allow for an inspection of the two active lava domes within the summit crater. Judging from the quantity of incandescent material falling from the domes and rolling down the slopes of the volcano, the domes are growing rapidly, indicative of substantial magma pressure from below. Phivolcs head Renato Solidum is quoted by the Philippine Information Agency as warning that ‘unlike in the 2001 and 2006 eruptions, Mayon took weeks to months for lava domes to develop, but this time these domes are becoming bigger and bigger everyday’.

More than 30,000 people have so far been evacuated from the danger zone around Mayon: the evacuations will affect a total of around 50,000, and if the eruption intensifies as many as 120,000 local residents will have to be evacuated. The police and the military have been instructed to ensure that everyone within the danger area evacuates, whether they want to go or not. Meanwhile tourists are descending upon the area, cameras in hand.

Additional coverage: ‘Major eruption for Mayon likely’ (Manila Times), ‘Mayon evacuation almost complete’ (Malaya), ‘Curfew to be enforced in Mayon danger zone’ (Philippine Star).

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

News
Phivolcs warns Mayon volcano crisis may last for months, considers raising alert level to 4 – AHN, 17 December 2009
Albay declares state of calamityPhilippines Daily Inquirer, 17 December 2009
Mayon volcano eruption: Philippines to raise alert level to 4 soon – Brunei fm, 17 December 2009
Forced evacuations around Philippine volcano – Associated Press, 17 December 2009
Gov’t bans human activity around Mayon PDZ; NDCC assures aid to Albay – Philippine Information Agency, 17 December 2009
Restive Mayon a tourist drawManila Bulletin, 17 December 2009
Philippine volcano Mount Mayon ‘still a danger’ – BBC News, 17 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

Mayon at the NASA Earth Observatory 16 December 2009

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Quick work from the NASA Earth Observatory team: they have posted an image of Mayon captured yesterday, 15 December 2009, by the Advanced Land Imager on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. A plume is visible emerging from Mayon’s summit crater and blowing away to the west. The close proximity of the volcano to the city of Legazpi and surrounding settlements is clearly shown.

The upper picture is the entire image with labels as shown on the Earth Observatory site, while the lower is a detail of Mayon taken from the full-size image (2 MB, 1482 x 1482 pixels):

Mayon volcano, 15 December 2009 (NASA EO-1 image)

Mayon volcano, 15 December 2009 (NASA EO-1 image, detail)

[NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team.]

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

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

‘Two lava domes growing’ at Mayon 16 December 2009

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A press report in the Philippines quotes Phivolcs head Renato Solidum as warning that two lava domes are currently growing in Mayon’s crater:

Two lava domes have formed at the crater of the Mayon Volcano, raising concerns among government volcanologists over the possible extensive damage should these collapse and a major eruption occur. Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), said the domes were ‘growing’ and that an aerial survey must be conducted to determine the hazards these would pose to residents living within the danger zone.

CNN reports that 30,751 people have so far been evacuated from around Mayon – the figure comes from the Philippines Red Cross. Albay Governor Joey Salceda is quoted in an Abu Dhabi newspaper as saying that he expects the evacuation to be completed today, although given time differences it’s unclear whether the ‘today’ in question is 16 or 17 December.

The BBC have a video of lava being erupted from Mayon; it looks lumpy and fragemented. Over at Eruptions, Dr Erik Klemetti observes in his excellent Mayon update for today that ‘it looks pretty clear to me that the lava flow isn’t as much low viscosity flows as crumbling, glowing dome rock’.

N.B., the Phivolcs website remains obstinately non-functional. [UPDATE 17 December 2009 – it’s working again.]

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

News
Mayon big ban fearedPhilippines Daily Inquirer, 17 December 2009
30,000 flee Philippine volcano – CNN, 16 December 2009
The race against Mount MayonThe National, 16 December 2009
Lava and ash flow from Philippine Mayon volcano – BBC News, 16 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

Mayon update 16 December 2009 16 December 2009

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Mayon volcano in the Philippines continues to erupt lava and incandescent rocks onto its slopes and there has been significant ashfall in neighbouring areas, but as yet there has been no large-scale explosive activity. The volcano remains on alert level 3.

Mandatory evacuations of residents from within the Mayon danger zone have been continuing: as of 17:00 local time on 16 December, a total of 30,761 residents had been evacuated according to the Regional Disaster Co-ordinating Council in Bicol. President Arroyo has ordered the military to assist in the evacuation process: ‘The guidance of our president is zero casualty’, says Defence Secretary Norberto Gonzales. A situation report from the Philippines National Disaster Co-ordinating Committee is available at ReliefWeb.

In the daily bulletin from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) issued at 08:00 local time this morning (summarized here), it was reported that 78 high frequency volcanic earthquakes and tremors had been detected over the previous 24 hours, and white steam emissions had reached 200 metres above the summit. Lava flows had reached 700-800 metres downslope from the crater, and detached lava fragments were reported to have generated a secondary pyroclastic surge that caused ashfall in the towns of Camalig and Guinobatan.

The Phivolcs website, by the way, is not working at the moment. [UPDATE 17 December 2009 – it’s working again.]

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

News
More lava flows from Mayon – ABS-CBN News, 16 December 2009
Lava from Mount Mayon threatens thousands in Albay – GMANews.TV, 16 December 2009
GMA taps military to evacuate residents near MayonPhilippine Star, 16 December 2009
Forced evacuation in AlbayManila Bulletin, 16 December 2009
Volcano evacuees braced for eruption – Reuters AlertNet, 16 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

Mayon activity continues, thousands evacuated 15 December 2009

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Mayon volcano in the Philippines has continued to erupt lava and ash as thousands of people are evacuated from surrounding towns and villages. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has reported glowing lava fragments continually being ejected onto the upper and middle slopes of the volcano. ‘Now lava is trickling down, but if the ascent of magma is sustained there will be lava flows’, Phivolcs head Renato Solidum has warned. ‘There is also the possibility of an explosion’. The head of disaster relief for eastern Bicol region has told reporters that ash explosions have reached heights of 1000 metres.

Mandatory evacuations of around 10,000 families from within Mayon’s 6-8 km danger zone have begun, with more than 20,000 people moved out so far. Ultimately around 50,000 people may need to be evacuated. The Albay provincial authorities, faced with a huge humanitarian problem that could last for months, are considering whether to place the province under a ‘state of calamity’, reports ABS-CBN News.

Albay Governer Joey Salceda has had to change his plans. He was supposed to be one of the Philippine representatives at the Copenhagen climate conference this week. Now Mayon has erupted, and he won’t be able to go.

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

News
Thousands flee MayonManila Bulletin, 15 December 2009
Thousands flee restive volcano in eastern Philippines – EarthTimes, 15 December 2009
Albay mulls declaring state of calamity – ABS-CBN News, 15 December 2009
Thousands flee as Philippine volcano spews lava – AFP, 15 December 2009
Thousands leave homes as Philippine volcano threatens to eruptThe Guardian, 15 December 2009
Mayon volcano in the Philippines oozes lava; alert up – Associated Press, 15 December 2009
Over 2000 families flee from Mayon volcanoPhilippine Star, 15 December 2009
Thousands flee erupting volcano – ABC News, 15 December 2009
Thousands moved as volcano erupts – Press Association, 15 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

Mayon erupts lava, alert level raised to 3 14 December 2009

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Evacuations are under way around the Philippine volcano Mayon after lava began flowing from the crater earlier today. A number of small ash explosions took place during the day, and the lava flows were reported from around 18:00 local time. At 20:00 local time the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level for Mayon from 2 to 3 (‘increasing tendency towards an eruption’).

Mandatory evacuations of communities within the 6-8 km danger zone around Mayon will begin on Tuesday morning. Parts of the cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Ligao, and the towns of Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Santo Domingo, Bacacay, and Malilipot, fall within the danger zone: many thousands of people will be affected by the evacuations. Albay provincial authorities say that at least 9,000 families will be evacuated.

UPDATE: Thanks to Boris Behncke for linking to a video of the Mayon eruption from ABS-CBN (see comments below). Among the cheesy transition effects and garish graphics, the video clearly shows an active dome glowing within the crater and incandescent lava flowing down the south-eastern flank.

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

[Thanks go to Boris Behncke and Erik Klemetti’s Eruptions blog.]

News
Mayon may erupt soon; alert level 3 raised – GMANews.TV, 14 December 2009
Mayon set to erupt; evacuation orderedPhilippine Star, 14 December 2009
Lava flows from Mayon volcano – ABS-CBN News, 14 December 2009
Evacuation ordered as Philippine volcano spews ash – AFP, 14 December 2009
Sulfur gas and quakes jolts Mayon – Vox Bikol, 14 December 2009
Philippines raises volcano alert, orders evacuationNew York Times, 14 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

More ash erupted at Mayon 14 December 2009

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A news report from the Philippines says that more ash has been thrown up by Mayon volcano this morning:

Mayon Volcano in Albay province spewed more ash on Monday, raising fears of an imminent eruption.

Alex Baloloy, science research specialist of the local Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology office, said minimal amount of volcanic ash drifted downwards facing the northwest portion of the volcano.

He said the ash explosions occurred at 7:04 a.m., 1038 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 12:21 p.m. and 1:04 p.m.

Mayon is still at alert level 2. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) says that the current eruptive activity is normal for this alert level, ‘but they are not discounting the possibility of a major eruption’.

42 high-frequency earthquakes have been registered at Mayon over the last 24 hours.

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

News
Mt. Mayon spews more ash – ABS-CBN News, 14 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

Mayon erupts ash to 0.5 km 12 December 2009

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Mayon volcano had a minor ash eruption on the evening of Friday 11 December, according to reports from the Philippines. The eruption happened at around 19:59 local time, and was preceded by rumbling sounds and about 50 earthquakes, detectable by people living in nearby villages. Ash was ejected to an altitude of 0.5 km above the crater.

According to the Philippine Star, staff at the Lignon Hill observatory of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said that three minutes of harmonic tremor was detected around 20:00 local time, but ‘admitted that they failed to observe the actual explosion’.

On the preceding day (Thursday 10 December) Phivolcs registered 29 earthquakes including ‘low- and high-frequency harmonic quakes, indicating magma was forming and climbing up the volcano’s vent’.

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

News
Mayon volcano acting up againManila Standard Today, 12 December 2009
Mayon shoots up ash anewPhilippine Star, 13 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Mayon – summary information for Mayon (0703-03=)
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology – website for Phivolcs, when it’s working

The Volcanism Blog

Eruptions at Mayon 11 November 2009

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Two weeks after its last small eruption, Mayon volcano in the Philippines has had another explosive event. There were two ash explosions, the first at 01:58 and the second at 07:02. Phivolcs issued a bulletin at 07:00 this morning on the first eruption, but have so far published no reports on the second:

At 1:58 AM today, an ash explosion occurred at the summit crater of Mayon Volcano (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E). This event was recorded by the seismic network as explosion type earthquake which lasted for about three minutes and accompanied by rumbling sounds.

Incandescent rock fragments were seen on the upper slopes of the volcano, and ashfall took place towards the south-west. Phivolcs reported that the eruption column was obscured by cloud, but Tokyo VAAC issued a Volcanic Ash Advisory reporting ash from this eruption at FL120 (12,000 feet/3600 metres a.s.l.). At the moment Mayon remains on alert level 2 (on a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is the highest). Phivolcs director Renato Solidum, quoted in the Philippine press, described today’s activity as more powerful than earlier explosions but still within the range of alert level 2: ‘It is one of the scenarios we expected under Alert Level 2’.

Associated Press reports that this eruption has provoked an evacuation order for 800 people living in villages to the south of the volcano. The authorities in the province of Albay, where Mayon is located, are also reported to be preparing for a potential evacuation of over 20,000 people if the volcano’s activity increases.

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

News
Mayon rumbles, quakes rock AgusanManila Bulletin, 11 November 2009
Philippines’ Mayon volcano spews ash, could erupt – Associated Press, 11 November 2009
(UPDATE 2) Mayon Volcano eruptsPhilippines Daily Inquirer, 11 November 2009
Albay prepares for evacuation from MayonPhilippines Daily Inquirer, 11 November 2009
Mayon spews ash: nearby residents told to prepare – GMANews.tv, 11 November 2009

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

The Volcanism Blog

Mayon: ‘minor ash explosion’ (updated) 28 October 2009

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A ‘minor ash explosion’ occurred today at Mayon volcano, according to news reports from the Philippines. Phivolcs volcanologist Eduardo Laguerta told the Philippines Daily Inquirer that ‘one minor ash explosion occurred at the summit crater of Mayon volcano’ at 05:32 local time today, producing a brownish ash column that rose about 600 metres above the crater and drifted north-east.

Over the previous 24 hours 13 volcanic earthquakes were recorded. Steam emission was moderate, while sulphur dioxide emissions were measured at 250 tonnes/day, half the normal baseline level. Crater incandescence has been bright in recent days, but could not be observed overnight 27-28 October because of cloud.

UPDATE. Phivolcs has issued a bulletin about the 28 October ash explosion event at Mayon:

At 5:32 AM today, one minor ash explosion occurred at the summit crater of Mayon Volcano (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E). This event lasted for about one minute. The explosion produced a brownish ash column that rose to a maximum height of about 600 meters above the crater and drifted to the northeast. For the past 24 hours, the seismic network recorded thirteen (13) volcanic earthquakes. Steam emission was at moderate level creeping downslope towards southwest. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emission rate was measured yesterday at 250 tonnes/day. Crater glow was not observed last night due to poor visibility.

The alert level for Mayon remains at 2, but an increase in activity could lead to it being raised to level 3, which would mean the evacuation of about 30000 local residents.

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

News
Mayon spews ash anewPhilippines Daily Inquirer, 28 October 2009

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

The Volcanism Blog