LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: Mount Bulusan in the province of Sorsogon erupted on Friday morning, causing an explosion of steam and ash that lasted five minutes followed by 40 volcanic quakes, government seismologists said.
While the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) did not raise the alert level at the volcano, it warned the public against venturing into Mount Bulusan’s four-kilometer permanent danger zone because of possibility of sudden explosion.
Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist, told The Manila Times that the explosion scattered ash in Puting Sapa and Sangayon villages of Juban town and in Cogon, Gulang-Gulang and Tinampo villages of Irosin town.
“This is just a minor explosion [that] coincided with Labor Day celebrations. We’re closely monitoring the [volcanic] activity if it will escalate in the coming days,” he said.
Around 10:30 a.m., when the crater became visible, dirty-white steam was seen coming out of it.
Phivolcs seismologists said Mount Bulusan, one of the most active volcanoes in the country, exploded at 8:09 a.m.
The volcano has erupted 15 times since 1885 and is considered as the 4th most active volcano in the Philippines after Mayon, Taal and Kanlaon. Bulusan last erupted in 2011.
Five volcanic earthquakes had been detected in the past week by the Bulusan seismic network.
After the steam and ash explosion on Friday, the network recorded approximately 40 volcanic earthquakes.
Phivolcs officials also warned people living within valleys and along rivers, streams and channels should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahar during heavy and prolonged rainfall.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has advised aircraft pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano.