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Mayon eruption first in 5 years; last episode occurred in 2001


This year's eruption of majestic Mount Mayon would be the first in five years, but as in previous episodes, may likely cause significant property damage and displace large numbers of people, unless evacuation efforts unfold in a jiffy. Mayon last erupted in 2001, records of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) showed. Its worst recorded eruption, however, occurred on February 1, 1814. Then, about 1,200 people from Cagsawa town, Albay province, sought refuge inside the local church, but eventually died after lava from the volcano inundated the whole town, and completely destroyed the church. To this day, only the tower of Cagsawa church remains standing. Restless since '99 Mayon has been restless since 1999, when it unexpectedly emitted a large plume of ash that startled the local residents. A series of eruptions followed in 2000 and 2001. Prior to these episodes, the last major eruption of the Mayon was in 1993, which claimed the lives of 70 people and forced the evacuation of 50,000 residents, according to the Albay provincial government. When Mayon erupted in 2001, the NDCC said 11,529 families or 56,853 persons were affected, while property and crop damage was estimated at P48.82 million. When "the perfect cone" erupted in 2000, the NDCC said 14,114 families or 68,426 persons were displaced, and property and crops worth P89.864 million were damaged. Mayon is one of the 8 active volcanoes out of the 22 active volcanoes in the Philippines that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) is closely monitoring. Monitoring activities According to a Phivolcs flyer on the volcano, the first seismograph at Mayon was installed in 1953 at the Bureau of Air Transportation building in Legazpi City. In early 1960s, the Sta. Misericordia Observatory (SMO) was established 9.8 km east of the crater. In 1968, the Mayon Resthouse Observatory (MRHO) was constructed approximately 4 km NNW of the summit at an elevation of 760 m above sea level. Each observatory was equipped with seismographs, watertube tiltmeters, raingauge and telescopes and manned by volcanologists and observers who conducted visual observations, analyzed seismograms and tiltmeter data, Phivolcs said. When the Lignon Hill Observatory (LHO) was constructed in 1989, it became the main observatory in Mayon and the receiving station of telemetered seismic network. All of the monitoring activities in Mayon are now centered at LHO, which is situated along the flank of Lignon Hill, a cindercone at the SE slope of Mayon. At present, Phivolcs added, the SMO is no longer manned while MRHO serves as seismic and tiltmeter station. -GMANews.Tv
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