Saturday, December 26, 2009

Phivolcs: Mayon's hazardous eruption may happen this week

MANILA, Philippines - The Mayon Volcano's feared hazardous eruption may happen within the week, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Wednesday.

"Yes. It is possible because the rate of changing from moderate-sized explosion, as we observed yesterday (Tuesday), is quite fast," Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum told ANC's News@8 when asked if the hazardous explosion may occur this week.

Solidum, however, clarified that the Mayon Volcano may still calm down or settle with moderate eruptions during the week. He warned people that the continuous lava flow from the volcano still poses danger and the 6-kilometer to 8-kilometer danger zones should be free from human activity.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, the Phivolcs has detected 1,051 volcanic earthquakes, a slight decrease compared to the last 2 days' number of detected earthquakes.

Solidum said the earthquakes' intensities were "consistently bigger in size" since Tuesday and the number of detected tremors is still high, which indicates that the volcano's seismic activity remains intense.

The Phivolcs also observed 66 ash explosions during times of good visibility as the volcano has been covered by thick clouds since Monday.

It said the explosions produced grayish to light brown ash columns that went as high as 100 meters to 1 kilometer above the crater summit. The ashes fell towards the southwest direction, it added.

The agency's observers also tallied 280 "audible booming and rumbling sounds" 12 kilometers to 15 kilometers away from the volcano's crater.

The Phivolcs said lava continued to flow from the volcano's mouth to the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies and sulfur dioxide emission remained very high measuring at an average of 6,737 tons per day.

The Phivolcs also said the volcano has spewed 20 million cubic meters of lava since Monday morning, a day after Alert Level 4 was hoisted over the volcano.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that as of Wednesday morning, a total of 9,880 families have been evacuated from the danger zones.

The evacuated families are residents of 32 villages in Camalig, Daraga, Legazpi City, Tabaco City, Malilipot, Sto. Domingo, Ligao City and Guinobatan.

The PNP said peacekeeping forces have been deployed in 26 evacuation shelters to secure the affected families.

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