Mt. Kanlaon temporarily closed to trekkers in wake of tremor
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental—-Mount Kanlaon, an active volcano, has been declared temporarily closed to mountaineers after large cracks believed to have been caused by Monday’s 6.9-magnitude earthquake were observed at its crater and land surfaces, a local official said Friday.
Kanlaon straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. It has an elevation of 2,435 meters (7,989 feet) and a base diameter of 30 kilometers.
Cecil Cañada, Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP) superintendent, said at least three 50-meter long cracks have been noted near the crater, while other cracks and a landslide have been noted within the MKNP.
A landslide was also seen at the Margaha Valley, the old crater of the volcano, he added.
An assessment was conducted by accredited trained guides and members of the rescue group based in Guintubdan, La Carlota City, in coordination with the MKNP Eco-tourism Officer and Biologist Angelo Bibar, Cañada said.
Their report revealed that some portions of the volcano’s crater were affected, and land surfaces had cracks and evidences of landslides, he said.
Cañada also maintained that the aftershocks from Monday’s earthquake and occasional heavy rainfall could pose danger to the life of mountain trekkers and tourists in the park.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has been informed of the quake damage to the volcano and they were trying to arrange for an aerial survey of the area, he added.
However, it is difficult to get a helicopter as they are being used for relief operations in Negros Oriental, Cañada said.
The volcano continues to be under observation amid the continuing aftershocks, he said.
On the other hand, Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of the Phivolcs Science Research Specialist Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division, said they need to verify the report if they could get an aerial survey.
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