• Two Bicol volcanoes threaten to erupt

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    LEGAZPI CITY: The 2,462 meter Mayon volcano in Albay and the Bulusan volcano in Sorsogon with an elevation of 1,547 meters above the sea level are threatening to erupt simultaneously after both showed similar abnormalities.

    Mayon volcano is acting up while a series of earthquakes within the foot of Mount Bulusan rock the area. The earthquakes are generated from the volcano’s belly, an indication of resurgence according to Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist in Bicol.

    Mayon’s restiveness is escalating—even the water reservoir of Daraga Water District was greatly affected by 30 to 40 percent water decrease for the past few weeks.
    The swift decrease of water reservoir volume affected water consumers in the higher grounds including the public market in Daraga town.

    Earlier, residents living within the foot of Mount Mayon reported the drying up of wells and other water sources as well as the exodus of wild animals at the volcano slopes.
    These natural indications point to a possible explosion that may occur anytime owing to magma build up toward the volcano’s vent.

    On May 7, Mount Mayon exploded without warning that killed five mountaineers. The volcano’s recent casualties from phreatic explosion were four Germans—Furian Stelter, Roland Pietieze, Farah Frances and Joanne Edosa—and Filipino tour guide Jerome Berin.

    Two weeks ago, Alert Level 1 was hoisted by Phivolcs after crater glow was spotted after the occurrence of the phreatic explosion. Alert Level 1 means the volcano is on a state of unrest and explosion may occur anytime.

    Crater glow indicates increasing magma build-up over the summit’s vent while inflation within the volcano’s edifice was noted in the southeast and southwest sections of Mount Mayon.

    Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay directed the local disaster responders across the province to be on guard including the military and police forces to strictly enforce the “no man’s land” within the declared danger zone.

    No human activity is strictly enforced within the foot of Mount Mayon including the famous all terrain vehicle (ATV) trail runs, orchid gathering, farming and picnic.
    Mayon volcano’s deadliest eruption took place in February 1814 where more than 1,000 people were buried alive inside the Cagsawa church.

    On February 2, 1993, the volcano erupted again without warning and killed 77 farmers.

    Laguerta warned and reiterated the public that the 6-kilometer (km) radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeast flank of the volcano are off limits to the people because of dangers from sudden explosions and rock falls from the upper slope of the Mayon volcano.

    While Phivolcs officials are closely watching Mayon, Mount Bulusan, some 70km southeast of Mount Mayon and approximately 250km southeast of Manila is acting up as well.

    Bulusan volcano is also one of the active volcanoes in the country and is said to have been formed almost 40,000 years ago. The mountain has four hot springs and four craters just like the caldera, which was formed from eruptions.

    There are four craters these are the following; the Crater No. 1, is called Blackbird Lake, it is 20-meter in diameter and 15 meters deep. The oval Crater No. 2 is 60-meters by 30 meters and 15 meters deep. Crater No. 3 is about 90 meters in diameter and 20 meters deep. Crater No. 4, which is near the northeastern rim, opened during the 1981 eruption.

    There is also a 100-meter fissure measuring 5 to 8 meters wide below Crater No. 4. Besides four caldera formed from eruption, it has several hot springs—San Benon Springs, Mapaso Springs, San Vicente Springs and Masacrot Springs.

    The volcano erupted 15 times, the latest of which was in June 2006.

    The last major eruption of Bulusan took place in the 17th century. Bulusan volcano is classified as stratavolcano (composite volcano) and one of the most active volcanoes in the country with a base diameter of 15 kilometers.

    Rhaydz B. Barcia

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