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Mayon’s perfect cone shape restored by lava —Solidum


The Mayon Volcano’s iconic perfect cone shape that was damaged by past eruptions has been repaired by the lava it has spewed in succeeding eruptions over the years, Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, said on Tuesday.

“That’s the beauty of what is happening in Mayon. ‘Yung dating nasisirang parte nito ay tinatapalan ng lava at nagkaroon ng facelift. Ibig sabihin naayos na,” Solidum said in an interview on Balitanghali.

But the “facelifted” crater, where a new lava dome has emerged due to recent activity at the world-famous volcano, could again be damaged by an explosive, “more dangerous” eruption, he said.

“Sa ngayon wala tayong nakikitang pagkasira. In fact, naayos ‘yung mukha niya sa southern side,” he said.

For the curious, Solidum said the volcano maintains its perfectly symmetrical conical shape because of the distribution of volcanic deposits on all its sides.

Ed Villacorte, a PHIVOLCS research specialist, told GMA News Online the volcano's crater was damaged in a 1984 eruption. Restoration of the damaged part began in 1993.

Since Mayon Volcano's eruption in 1968, more of the deposits have gone down the southern side, Solidum said, but after the volcano has virtually repaired itself back to picture perfection, lava flow may again be distributed evenly, “re-threatening” residents of the volcano’s northern side.

“Kailangang malaman ng ating mga kababayan sa northern side ng volcano na kapag ayos na po 'yung crater ng Mayon ay equally distributed na naman ang mga deposito so it re-threatened them,” Solidum said.

“Marami pong mga barangays sa southern side sa loob ng danger zone na na-relocate, pero dito sa northern side, marami-rami pang hindi pa naaalis kasi nga wala masyadong threat...,” he added.

Solidum warned of loose deposits and lahar, which could be triggered by heavy rainfall. He said more residents live close to lahar-threatened rivers within and beyond eight kilometers of the volcano that could be affected by potential lahar flows.

As of Tuesday morning, Alert Level 3 remains hoisted over the volcano as it continues to spew lava. PHIVOLCS said it could experience a hazardous eruption within weeks or days.

More than 5,000 families or more than 20,000 people have been evacuated to safety, but some still return to the six-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ) to check on crops and livestock.

Solidum in the same interview emphasized the importance of permanent relocation for those living in the PDZ.

The Mayon, one of the Philippines' active volcanoes, last erupted in 2014, but its "most destructive" eruption occurred in 1814, marked with "plinian, pyroclastic flows" and "volcanic lightning and lahar." It killed some 1,200 people. —Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/KG, GMA News

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