Saturday, February 25, 2006
Mayon volcano under close watch!
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said as of early Tuesday, 147 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes were recorded over a 1.5-hour period, compared with five or fewer during quiet times.
Minor rockfalls and wispy to moderate steaming were also observed, it added.
"These low-frequency volcanic earthquakes were relatively large ... and are interpreted to be caused by the shallow movement of magma within the summit crater,'' a bulletin issued by the institute said.
The 2,474-meter (8,118-foot) volcano has been restless since October 2004, when officials raised the second of a five-level alert system, indicating "increasing unrest,'' and warned villagers to stay out of a permanent 6-kilometer (3.75-mile) danger zone.
The institute's director, Renato Solidum Jr., said the alert level is not being raised again but officials are warning people not to go near the volcano in view of the latest increse in seismic activity.
"Technically the volcano has been erupting because of the lava growing inside the crater, but what we are trying to warn about would be the explosive one which would really be dangerous,'' he said.
Volanologists are on the lookout for more frequent ash puffs or further increases in seismic activity, indications of imminent eruption, he added.
Mayon last came to life in a series of eruptions in 2001, forcing the evacuation of about 50,000 people. It has erupted about 50 times since 1616.-AP