Mount Kanlaon simmers down; smell of sulfur diminishes
BACOLOD CITY — The most active volcano in Central Philippines has appeared to have simmered down.
Although Mount Kanlaon remained to be at alert level 2, its volcanic earthquakes had already dropped while the smell of sulfur in villages near it had diminished.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday said Kanlaon’s seismic monitoring network recorded only 10 volcanic earthquakes in the past 24 hours.
The number was a huge drop compared to the 279 deep volcanic earthquakes recorded on Wednesday and 217 on Thursday.
An abrupt surge in seismic activity at Kanlaon on Tuesday afternoon prompted the Phivolcs to raise its alert from level 1 or low level of unrest to level 2, or moderate level of unrest on Wednesday morning.
La Castellana Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan said she ordered the suspension of classes in elementary and high school levels as a precautionary measure after residents living near the volcano reported smelling sulfur starting Thursday.
But the smell of sulfur diminished by late Friday afternoon, she added.
Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of the Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Program Division, said residents of three barangays in La Castellana – Sag-ang, Camandag and Robles – reported smelling sulfur, but Phivolcs had not issued an official statement on the matter.
An information campaign on the state of Kanlaon is underway for residents living close to it to create awareness of its situation, he added.
The local government units and the public are still reminded that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone is strictly prohibited due to the further possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions, Phivolcs said.
Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft, it added.
Kanlaon is a centerpiece of Mount Kanlaon Natural Park, a national park located at least 30 km from this city.
Although it is an active volcano, it is a favorite spot for climbers with its twin-peaked massif rises 2,465 m above sea level.
The volcano straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. called on Negrenses not to let their guard down and to pray that the situation at Kanlaon would not get worse.
The governor said the situation in Kanlaon was being closely monitored by Phivolcs and the Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Program Division so that residents in the area could be alerted on developments. /atm
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