Mayon unrest may last for a few months – Phivolcs
MANILA, Philippines — State volcanologists on Tuesday believed the unrest in Mayon Volcano could last for a few months based on historical data.
Dr. Teresito Bacolcol, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), drew parallels between the latest activities and that of Mayon in 2018 and 2014.
“Based on our experience, this activity may persist [for] a few months,” Bacolcol said in a Teleradyo interview.
“When the eruption is violent, this would probably take a few days to weeks, but when it is slow like this, it would probably take several months,” he added, partly in Filipino.
Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief science research specialist of Phivolcs, told INQ Today that the activity would last for months when the volcano quietly effuses lava.
“Mayon is quietly effusing lava flow from its summit craters and the lava flows are being transported to the south and southeast sector of the volcano,” Bornas said.
“There have been past eruptions similar to this where the volcano is quietly effusing lava and this activity lasted for months,” she added. “We might get that activity.”
Bornas said that the lava flows have reached a distance of one kilometer away from the crater.
As of Tuesday, Phivolcs said the Mayon Volcano saw one volcanic earthquake, spewing 723 tonnes of sulfur dioxide.
Those living in the volcano’s permanent risk zone, according to Bacolcol, will have to remain in the shelters for at least the next few months.
More than 14,000 residents have been staying in evacuation centers, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“Parang ganoon na nga ang mangyayari (That seems to be the case),” he said when asked if this meant that residents inside the volcano’s permanent danger zone would have their stay prolonged for a few months.
“Unless we lower the alert level, we have no choice but to have those who live inside the permanent danger zone stay in evacuation centers. There should be no people in the permanent danger zone in the first place,” he explained.
Phivolcs classified Mayon Volcano under Alert Level 3 last Thursday due to “potential explosive activity happening within days or weeks.”
If a volcano’s magma is at or near the surface, and its activity could lead to dangerous eruptions within weeks, an Alert Level 3 is announced.
State seismologists determined that increasing the danger zone beyond eight kilometers from the active crater would require a higher warning level.
Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman has already extended the “danger zone” of the volcano to seven-kilometer radius.