Mayon Volcano spews debris, hot gases

MANILA, Philippines – A pyroclastic flow was spotted at the Mayon Volcano in Albay on Monday morning, January 15, as areas around the volcano remain on high alert for a possible major eruption.

The pyroclastic flow – which is composed of volcanic debris and fast-moving hot gases – was observed at around 9:41 am on Monday, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Phivolcs posted photos showing the pyroclastic flow, taken from the Lignon Hill Observatory in Legazpi City.

This comes after Phivolcs late Sunday, January 14, raised the alert level for the volcano from Level 2 to Level 3, meaning a "hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days."

The raising of the alert level was due to 3 recorded phreatic, or steam-driven, eruptions and 158 rockfall events from Saturday afternoon, January 13, to early Sunday evening, considered as signs of "relatively high unrest."

People are prohibited from entering the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone around the volcano "due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides, and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows."

At least 1,547 families or 5,857 persons have already evacuated from the municipalities of Camalig, Guinobatan, and Malilipot in Albay. Their barangays are included in the danger zone. –