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Mayon now under alert level 2, Phivolcs says

July 10, 2009 9:36am

MANILA, Philippines - State volcanologists on Friday raised the alert level at Mayon Volcano in Bicol after noting "moderate unrest" there in the past weeks.

Albay readies evacuation plans
With the alert level for Mayon Volcano raised to “2," provincial officials in Albay have mapped out evacuation plans, including those for forced evacuation of residents near the volcano.

Cedric Daep, head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), said Governor Jose Salceda has also banned mountain-climbing activities in Mayon.

"Sa ngayon nag-issue si Governor ng advisory, pinagbawal ang mountain climbing. Bawal ang any human activity in critical areas sa 6-km permanent danger zone [The governor issued an advisory barring mountain-climbing. He also banned human activity in critical areas at the six-kilometer permanent danger zone]," Daep said in an interview on dzXL radio. Read more
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Mayon's status is now raised to Alert Level 2 (moderate unrest) from 1 (low-level unrest).

"This alert condition signifies a state of unrest which could lead to ash explosions or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption. Thus, at Alert Level 2, Phivolcs strongly recommends that the 6-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeast flank of the volcano are off-limits due to the threat from sudden explosions and rockfalls from the upper slopes," it said on its website.

Active river channels and areas identified as lahar-prone in the southeast sector should also be avoided especially during bad weather conditions or when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall, it added.

A television report on Friday said residents of Guinobatan town in Albay province have started packing their belongings on fears of another eruption. The residents live within the 6-kilometer danger zone in the area.

Phivolcs noted that since June 2009, there had been an increase in the current activity of Mayon Volcano.

It said the number of recorded low-frequency volcanic earthquakes rose to a higher level signifying possible movement of magma beneath the volcano edifice at shallow depth.

Also, it said the present seismic count is at the same level when a phreatic explosion occurred last August 2008.

Ground uplift of about one centimeter was measured by Precise Leveling Survey conducted last June 15-22, and the uplift was sustained during a re-survey Thursday.

"Glow at the summit crater has intensified and could now be observed at Lignon Hill Observatory without the aid of telescopes. Steam emission was at moderate level," it said.

Aerial survey conducted last Wednesday showed a cone-shaped pile of hot, steaming old rocks, possibly remnants from previous eruptions which could be the source of the glow at the crater, Phivolcs said.

It said the low frequency volcanic earthquakes and ground uplift could indicate that fresh volcanic materials are moving upward at depth, causing the formation of the cone-shaped pile of materials at the crater.

"Because of the above observations, Phivolcs is now raising the Alert status of Mayon Volcano from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2," it said. - GMANews.TV
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