MANILA, 11 October – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) confirmed that lava flow was spotted at the Mayon Volcano in Albay on Sunday, though there is no reason yet to raise the alert status to level four.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda on Sunday said the Mayon Volcano is likely on “soft eruption,” and that they conducted an aerial survey of the volcano to verify whether “incandescent materials” flowing from the volcano are indeed lava.
“Actually, we don’t use the term soft eruption. If we look at the past eruptions of the Mayon Volcano, we can classify its phases to one, non-explosive, meaning there is only quiet effusion of lava from the summit, and second, explosive eruption,” said Phivolcs director Renato Solidum on ANC.
“What has been happening since September 15 and today would be the non-explosive eruption. The first activity started on September 15 and lasted for a few days. After that, there was a lull or no summit activity, but this morning, our volcanologists spotted a lava flow,” Solidum explained.
“It was confirmed by conducting an aerial survey on the slopes of Mayon Volcano,” he added. “Essentially, what is happening now is there is a very slow movement, quiet-type movement of the lava flow around 350-meters from the summit.”
Solidum said the magma is currently at the summit of the volcano and currently coming out, but “there is no sign yet for us to warrant the increase to Alert Level Four.”
Mayon Volcano has been on Alert Level Three for nearly a month now, meaning that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks.
Solidum did warn that in many of Mayon’s eruptions, the non-explosive, lava flow eruption “essentially transitions to an explosive phase.”
“That is what our alert level is for, that is why people were evacuated – because of a possible threat of an explosive eruption,” he said.
Solidum said Alert Level Four would be raised once the magma movement quickens and volcanic earthquakes increase in occurrence.
“Small explosions would happen before the big explosion, and (we will) see continuous swelling of the volcano’s slopes. We haven’t seen that, except for the continuous but slow swelling of the slopes,” he said.
“The swelling in the past week is faster than the swelling of the volcano in previous weeks,” he added.
There are more than 12,000 families staying in evacuation centers in Albay. Solidum said this number already includes families who live beyond the six-kilometer area of the volcano. Phivolcs can still recommend more evacuations if necessary. — With a report from ANC.