MANILA, Philippines – Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay was placed on “Alert Level 3” on Monday evening, September 15, after showing signs of “relatively high unrest,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.
In a bulletin issued at 10:00 pm, PHIVOLCS observed 39 rockfall events from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm on September 15, symptoms of the build-up of magma at the summit dome. At least 32 low frequency volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, indicating magma intrusion or volcanic gas activity.
PHIVOLCS-DOST raised the alert status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3 which is equivalent to a “Critical Alert” in the agency’s 5-level alert system. This means that the volcano is exhibiting relatively high unrest, magma is at the crater, and that an eruption is possible within weeks.
Phivolcs previously raised Alert Level 2 for Mayon, an active volcano located in the southern part of Luzon Island, on August 15.
The agency called for the strict enforcement of the 6-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-kilometer Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeasern flank.
At 11:00 pm on Monday, Albay Governor Joey Salceda and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office ordered the forced evacuation of all settlers inside the PDZ.
The provincial government has also ordered other contingency plans to proceed, including the evacuation of the 10,000 families in the 6-8-kilometer Extended Danger Zone.
Mayon Volcano is famous for its near perfect cone shape from the summit to the base. Its last major activtiy was an explosion of ash and steam in May 2013.
About 330 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Manila, the volcano has erupted about 48 times in recorded history. Way back in 1814, more than 1,200 people died when lava flows buried the town of Cagsawa.
In December 2009, Mayon also spewed ash and lava and displaced tens of thousands of villagers. Prior to that, the volcano erupted in August 2006. No direct deaths were linked to that explosion. – Rappler.com