TACLOBAN CITY -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said there’s no sign of eruption of Mahagnao Volcano in Burauen, Leyte contrary to reports circulating on social media.
The Phivolcs seismic station in Palo, Leyte has not detected any recent volcanic activity in Mahagnao, classified as one of the country’s potentially active volcanoes.
“We’re surprised to hear reports of possible impending eruption since the volcano has been dormant since its last eruption in 1895,” said Myra Dolina, a science research analyst of Phivolcs Palo station, in an interview Wednesday.
The alleged report, which caused panic among netizens in Leyte province, has quoted Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional information officer Rayden Cabrigas as the source.
The official admitted discussing cracks seen near the Mahagnao Volcano during a radio interview on Monday, but denied saying that these are signs of possible eruption.
“Yes, I mentioned that there are visible cracks there due to past ground shakings, but these are not related to any volcanic activity. It is not OCD’s job to tell the public that a volcano is about to erupt,” Cabrigas told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Joeban Paza, the municipal risk reduction and management officer of Burauen town, said on Wednesday they have not received any report from villagers of impending hazards in Mahagnao.
“Mahagnao Volcano is stable and its condition has remained normal even after powerful earthquakes in recent years,” Paza said in a phone interview.
Dolina clarified that visible soil cracks are not signs of impending eruption since the condition may be triggered by tectonic earthquakes and prolong dry season.
The latest tectonic earthquake in Burauen town was recorded last Sept. 7 with a magnitude of 3.3. This is due to the movement of a local fault line and not from the volcano, according to Phivolcs.
“Among the signs of the volcanic eruption are small earthquakes beneath the volcano, slight swelling, drying up of nearby bodies of water, unusual movements of animals in the wild, and increased emission of heat and gas from vents on the volcano," she said.
Mahagnao Volcano is about 65 kilometers south of Tacloban City and 18 kilometers away from the town center of Burauen.
Although the volcano has been inactive, it is classified as potentially active due to the active thermal features of the mountain.
The summit of the volcano is a steep-walled heavily forested crater that opens to the south with a peak elevation of 860 meters.
Proclaimed as a national park in 1937, the site near the volcano is endowed with other natural attractions -- a lake, falls, multi-colored mud, hot springs, virgin forests, and lagoon. (PNA)