Sulfuric smell around Mt. Kanlaon envelops town
BACOLOD CITY—The number of earthquakes around Kanlaon Volcano drastically dropped but the strong smell of sulfur forced the cancellation of classes in public schools in La Castellana town on Friday.
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 pungent sulfur in the air since 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 the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (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 the volcano to create awareness of its situation, Caelian added.
An abrupt surge in seismic activity at Kanlaon Volcano on Tuesday afternoon prompted the Phivolcs to raise its alert from Level 1 (low level of unrest) to Level 2, or moderate level of unrest on Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, Phivolcs reported that Kanlaon was hit by 279 deep volcanic earthquakes, and 217 on Thursday.
On Friday, a Phivolcs report said Kanlaon Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded only 10 volcanic earthquakes in the past 24 hours.
“Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 1 ton per day on September 6. There is probable intrusion of magma at a depth which may or may not lead to a magmatic eruption,” it reiterated.
The local government units and the public are reminded that entry into the four-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone is strictly prohibited due to the further possibility 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. /jpv
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