Mayon volcano spews ash anew

by Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN News Bicol

Posted at Sep 15 2009 12:40 PM | Updated as of Sep 16 2009 03:25 AM

The Mayon volcano in Albay spewed ash at around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta said the volcano emitted light brown smoke with very minimal ash content.

He reiterated that the minor ash puff is normal to a volcano under alert level two.

He said the ashes will not affect the residents and farms in the southwest portion of the volcano comprising the towns of Camalig and Guinobatan.

The ash column reached 700 meters high and it drifted towards the southwest portion of the volcano.

Meanwhile, in the latest monitoring of Phivolcs, seven low frequency volcanic quakes were recorded on Monday.

In addition, it recorded a hundred-plus metric tons of sulfur dioxide. This is lower from the normal sulfur dioxide emission of 500 metric tons per day.

The Phivolcs, however, maintained its advice to residents living near the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone and the 7- to 8-km extended danger zones to be extra cautious for a possible eruption.

The Mayon volcano alert level was raised to 2 last July because of the volcano’s abnormal increase in activity.

Volcanic activity

The Phivolcs conducted an aerial survey of the volcano in July 8 which 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.”

A report from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) released last July 10 stated that beginning June 2009 there was an increase in the current activity of the Mayon Volcano.

According to the report, the number of recorded low frequency volcanic earthquakes, or earthquakes with not much seismic tremors, rose to a higher level. The report said that this signified possible movement of magma beneath the volcano edifice at a shallow depth.

The cone-shaped pile of materials found at the crater are caused by the low frequency volcanic earthquakes and ground uplift—moving fresh volcanic materials upward.

Aside from recommending residents and tourists to stay away from the danger zones, active river channels and areas perennially identified as lahar-prone should also be avoided, especially during extreme weather conditions such as heavy and prolonged rainfall.