LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum on Monday told families affected by the restive Mayon Volcano to be patient and stay at the evacuation centers here.
The question of when the volcano will erupt has been a guessing game for the past 15 days and Solidum advised the 12,462 families or 56,125 people not to return to their homes.
“Be patient, stay where you are, we’re not in control of Mayon. Stay away from the foot of the volcano while she is angry. Go back to her grounds when she’s back to normal condition,” Solidum said.
Solidum arrived here on Monday to check the activity of Mayon, which is continuously exhibiting abnormal condition in placid status before the hazardous explosion in the coming days or weeks.
“From the distance the volcano looks so cool but based on our instrument, Mayon is continuously degassing with fresh magma build up,” Phivolcs chief said.
“Mayon will erupt when she is ready. For now, she is degassing and the magma is ascending towards the summit so there’s no need to relax and to be complacent. Mayon might erupt from strombolian to valcanian type like a canon,” Solidum explained.
Residents from the municipalities of Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga, Sto. Domingo, Malilipot and two cities of Ligao and Tabaco are housed in temporary evacuation camps by the provincial government of Albay.
Phreatic eruption is likely to happen once large volume of water is deposited at the crater which may trigger the collapse of the lava dome and rising of magma eventually leading to stronger eruption.
Mayon Volcano’s seismic network recorded at least two volcanic earthquakes and four rockfall events during the past 24-hour observation period.
Moderate emission of white steam plumes drifting downslope towards south west was observed while crater glow was not observed last night.
Though only few volcanic quakes recorded but the sulfur dioxide (SO2) flux was measured at an average of 1265 tonnes per day and ground deformation data showed no significant change from August 2014 based on September 2014 precise leveling survey although the edifice remains inflated compared to baseline measurements.
Tilt data also indicate continuous inflation at the base of the edifice since August 2014. All the above data indicate that the volcano is still in a state of unrest due to the movement of potentially eruptible magma.
Mayon Volcano’s alert status remains at Alert Level 3. This means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks.
It is recommended that the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeastern flank be enforced due to the danger of rock falls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.