Mount Kanlaon remains restive, records 1,217 quakes in 24 hours
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Mount Kanlaon in Negros Island continues to be restive as it recorded 1,217 volcanic earthquakes over the past 24 hours.
This came a day after it recorded 1,007 volcanic earthquakes.
Paul Alanis, science research specialist of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) central office, said on Friday, December 15, that Mount Kanlaon’s volcanic activities is not normal which is why it’s still on Alert Level 2.
“Volcanic activities are expected because of the abnormal status of the volcano,” Alanis said.
He said the magma intrusion “may or may not lead to eruption.”
"It can go both ways. It could stop or it could escalate," he added.
Alanis said the community has to be vigilant. “As long as you’re not in the 4-kilometer permanent danger zone, there’s nothing to worry about,” he added.
Mount Kanlaon remained on Alert Level 2, which means the volcano is undergoing a moderate level of unrest.
Based on the Phivolcs bulletin released on Friday, wispy emission of white steam-laden plumes was observed from the summit crater.
Sulfur dioxide emission was measured at an average of 687 tons per day on December 13, the agency said.
Ground deformation data from continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements indicate slight inflation of the edifice since December 2015.
Phivolcs raised the alert status of the volcano from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 on November 15 after it recorded 279 volcanic earthquakes for 24 hours at that time.
Mount Kanlaon, which straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, is the highest point in the Visayas at 2,465 meters (8,087 feet) above sea level.
Phivolcs reminded the local government units and the public that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone is strictly prohibited due to the possibility of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.
It said civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.
Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division, said they are close monitoring Mount Kanlaon’s activities.
They also have close coordination with the Office of Civil Defense in Western Visayas, he added.
Caelian said there’s a massive information and education campaign among the communities to be directly affected should there be a major eruption. These include the cities of La Carlota and Bago, and San Carlos and La Castellana town.
Residents were taught on what to do during a volcanic eruption and ash fall, and what they should include in their emergency go-bags.
Caelian said the most probable areas in the province that will be affected by the volcanic eruption included the cities of San Carlos, Bago, and La Carlota and the towns of Murcia, La Castellana, Moises Padilla and Salvador Benedicto, which are within the 4-kilometer danger zone.
If based on the pathway of lahar, localities that will be affected include the cities of San Carlos, Bago, La Carlota and Himamaylan and the towns of Pontevedra, Pulupandan, San Enrique, Valladolid, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, La Castellana, Moises Padilla and Isabela, he said. – Rappler.com