Low chance for hazardous Mayon Volcano eruption despite Level 3 status

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

September 29, 2023, 5:04 pm

<p>Mayon Volcano <em>(File photo</em>) </p>

Mayon Volcano (File photo

MANILA – The chance of an explosive eruption by Mayon Volcano remains slim, the head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) assured on Friday.

Since June, Albay province’s Mayon has been on Alert Level 3, which means that a relatively high level of unrest and hazardous eruption within weeks or even days are possible.

"The parameters we are observing now are not too elevated, compared to the parameters observed in July and August," Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol said at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing.

Bacolcol said two factors will be considered before lowering the volcano to Level 2 – when the flow of lava and occurrence of pyroclastic density current (PDC) stop.

"That is the behavior of a volcano when there is an effusive eruption," he said, adding that he expects these to continue for several weeks more.

For the past 24 hours, Phivolcs recorded three PDCs and lava flows reaching 3.4 km. in Bonga, 2.8 km. in Mi-isi, and 1.1 km. in Basud gullies.

"Rockfalls and PDCs generated by collapses of the lava flow margins as well as of the summit dome deposited debris still within four kilometers of the crater," Phivolcs added.

Eighteen volcanic earthquakes and 95 rockfall events were also recorded for the past 24 hours.

The Phivolcs chief said volcanic smog (vog) is also unlikely in Mayon because of low volume of sulfur dioxide (S02) emission.

Mayon's S02 emission on Sept. 28 averaged 761 tonnes.

"This is not as huge compared to the S02 emission in Taal [in Batangas province]. Mayon's S02 emission could be dispersed easily," he said.

However, he said continuous rainfall may result in lahar. (PNA)