Phivolcs warns of lahar flows from Bulusan

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2011 04:32 PM | Updated as of May 19 2011 12:32 AM

SORSOGON, Philippines – Activity in Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon declined on Wednesday, as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded only 2 earthquakes in the last 24 hours.

Steaming activity at the volcano’s active vents was also reported as weak to moderate.

Phivolcs reported that 144 earthquakes were recorded on Tuesday.

While the volcano appeared calm, Phivolcs said residents living in the vicinity of the volcano should not get complacent.

Alert Level 1 remained hoisted over the volcano.

The decline in seismic activity could be an indication of another explosion, similar to the steam-driven ash explosion that occurred on May 13, which damaged crops in Juban, Sorsogon.

Authorities said the damage to agriculture caused by the ashfall was estimated to cost only P5,000 because the crops had already been damaged by tropical storm “Bebeng.”

‘Lahar’ warnings

Aside from an ash explosion, Phivolcs also warned about the possibility of volcanic mudflow or “lahar.”

Based on an aerial survey conducted on Tuesday, material was seen flowing on the volcano’s slope.

Although the amount was not alarming, Phivolcs warned that the material may flow to river channels in the towns of Juban and Irosin.

Residents living near valleys and river channels are thus reminded to be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall.

Several tourists, meanwhile, saw the lull as an opportunity to head over to Lake Bulusan, where activities such as kayaking and fishing are offered. -- Report from Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN Sorsogon