Kanlaon spews ash; Hikers, planes warned
MOUNT Kanlaon in Negros yesterday shot a huge column of ash into the sky, prompting authorities to warn hikers and aircraft to stay away.
Kanlaon launched a plume of whitish-grey ash up to 1.5 kilometers into the air shortly past nine in the morning, said Kenn John Veracruz of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
Reports from the area said ashfall had so far been recorded in the barangay of Murcia, Negros Occidental, and nearby areas.
Volcanologists called it a phreatic or steam-driven explosion. Veracruz said that so far the authorities had not detected any lava rising inside the 2.47-kilometer high volcano, which straddles Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental provinces.
“It has been raining in recent days so there was likely water that built up inside the volcano, and since the crater is hot, it built up the steam pressure,” causing the eruption of ash, Veracruz, a member of the institute’s volcano monitoring division, told Agence France-Presse.
The civil aviation office issued an advisory telling “flights operating in the vicinity of the volcano to avoid flying close to the summit as airborne ash from a sudden eruption could be hazardous to aircraft.”
The volcano has been more active than usual since November, prompting the government to ban hikers from its slopes.
Veracruz said it was possible the volcano would unleash another ash eruption.
Kanlaon has had several eruptions, usually of ash, in the past century, leading the government to impose a permanent four-kilometer “danger zone” around the volcano where people are barred from living.
Another volcanologist, Mari Andylene Quintia, based at the Phivolcs station in La Carlota City, said ash emissions were not unusual for the volcano, which has been under Alert Level 1 since last year.
In August 1996, the volcano abruptly erupted, sending a spray of heated rocks that killed three hikers who were near the summit at the time.
The Philippines is located in the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” and has over 20 active volcanoes.
Earlier this month, Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon fired a spectacular column of ash and steam into the air./rga
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