MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon erupted again on Wednesday, May 6 at around 9:46 pm. According to the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol, the mountain is spewing ash with plumes reaching up to 250 meters or 820 feet high.
This is the second time in a week that the Sorsogon volcano, one of the most active in the Philippines, erupted. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) in Bicol has been monitoring the volcano since the initial explosion happened on May 1.
Because of the two recent eruptions, Phivolcs plans to raise Bulusan’s alert level status from 0 to 1, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum told Rappler.
Alert Level 1 for Bulusan means “low level unrest.” Though the two eruptions indicate hydrothermal disturbance, eruption is not immiment, according to the Phivolcs website.
Like the May 1 eruption, this second eruption was “phreatic,” resident volcanologist of Phivolcs-Bicol Ed Laguerta told Rappler. This means that the eruption was driven by steam and not by rising magma.
Phreatic eruptions often come without warning, skipping the usual alert levels issued by Phivolcs before an eruption.
This is because phreatic eruptions are caused by water contacting hot rock producing steam that then escapes the crater explosively. Such a phenomenon is difficult to pre-empt unlike other types of eruptions that are preceded by volcanic earthquakes or detectable rising magma.
Phreatic eruptions are apparently common in Mount Bulusan, said Laguerta.
The chance of Bulusan erupting again is “more likely because it is in the nature of Bulusan to have sporadic phreatic activities,” he said in a text message.
Bulusan is one of 23 active volcanoes in the Philippines. – with reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com
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