LEGAZPI CITY — An explosion rocked Mayon Volcano at around 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, sending loud howls from residents in the southeast flank, particularly in the villages of Matanag, Mabinit and Bonga.
Alex Baloloy, science research specialist of the Philippine Institute of Science and Volcano (Phivolcs) here confirmed it was a “phreatic” explosion characterized by the spewing of ash and rocks.
As of posting time, ash column of 500 meters was seen southwest of the volcano, and ash fall is now being experienced in Muladbucad, Guinobatan, Baloloy said.
Despite the initial blast, alert level 0 is maintained, which means there is no imminent eruption, said Baloloy.
He nonetheless advised the public not to venture into the 6-kilometer danger zone.
Unconfirmed reports said there were three groups of mountaineers composed of 20 persons climbing Mayon when it exploded.
Disaster authorities are still confirming reports there were two persons who died and two injured as a result of the explosion.
The last recorded volcanic explosion was in December 2009.
In a separate interview in Manila, Phivolcs said the explosion lasted for 73 seconds.
Phivolcs said the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ) was due to “the threat of sudden steam-driven eruptions and rock falls from the upper and middle slopes of the volcano, and small phreatic explosions including small steam and ash ejections may occur suddenly with little or no warning”.
Phivolcs also said that seismic and gas emission parameters remained within background levels and indicated no intensification of volcanic activity. With a report from Frances Mangosing, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted at 09:46 am | Tuesday, May 7, 2013