LEGAZPI CITY: The Bicol region was placed on heightened alert as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) closely monitors two restive volcanoes – Mount Mayon in Albay and Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon.
“We are closely watching two active volcanoes in restive condition as these might erupt anytime but Mount Mayon is more dangerous than Bulusan owing to prolonged magmatic type of explosive eruption while Bulusan is phreatic type,” Phivolcs resident volcanologist chief Ed Laguerta said on Saturday.
Laguerta told The Manila Times that the most threatened areas in case of volcanic explosion are Legazpi City, Daraga, Santo Domingo and part of Camalig town facing the southeast quadrant of Mayon.
Alert level 1 remains in effect over Mount Mayon and Mount Bulusan, which means the volcanoes are restive.
While no magmatic eruption is imminent, Phivolcs strongly advised the public to stay away from the 6-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) because of possible rockfalls, landslides and avalanches, sudden ash puffs and steam-driven or phreatic eruptions from the summit.
On Saturday, the Office of Civil Defence in Bicol led by regional director Raffy Alejandro, with Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) chairman Laguerta of Phivolcs and Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) conducted an aerial survey to evaluate the condition of Mayon specifically the protruding lava dome that has been blocking the volcano’s rim for nearly two years.
The team focused on the summit of Mayon volcano to check if another lava dome has formed or developed in the north side facing Tabaco.
Alejandro said that the aerial survey aims to document the condition of the volcano for future use for hazard scenarios and contingency planning.
The Phivolcs and RDRRMC-Bicol will recommend actions to be taken to the local disaster risk reduction management officials in the municipalities around the restive volcano.
On Thursday, Phivolcs raised the alert level status of Mayon from alert level 0 to alert level 1 because of the increasing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission and series of larger local earthquakes in the vicinity.
Laguerta said that the three restive volcanoes in the country – Kanlaon in Negros, Mayon and Bulusan – are currently on alert level 1 status.
He said that between Mount Mayon and Bulusan, the former has the history of longest magmatic eruptions. Mount Bulusan was mostly noted for phreatic explosion or short duration explosion type.