Saturday, August 19, 2006

Experts are confused by Mayon's abnormal behavior!

Ed Laguerta, resident volcanologist at the Ligñon Hill observatory here, and other scientists explained that the decrease in these areas does not yet establish a trend to tell whether the volcano is simmering or preparing for a big explosion.

He said that they still need to wait for a week or two to determine the general trend of Mayon’s abnormal behavior, adding that the past eruptions of Mayon Volcano were marked by fluctuations in the recorded parameters, but sometimes still proceeded to a hazardous explosion.

Phivolc’s bulletin reported: "Last night’s observation revealed the apparent decrease in rockfall activity and a noticeable decrease in the intensity of glow from lava deposits on the middle and lower slopes of the volcano."

Laguerta stressed that Alert Level 4 remains over Mayon because most of its abnormal precursors are still very high, compared to their normal readings.

Two more explosions were detected by Phivolcs’ instruments at 3:35 a.m. and 4:14 a.m. At least 22 volcanic earthquakes, indicating continuing magma ascent towards the crater, 240 lava extrusion-tremors and rockfalls were also recorded in the past 24 hours. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emission was also measured at 2,712 tons, compared to the almost similar volume of 2,937 tons last Friday, the institute said.

"The estimated volume of erupted volcanic deposits is now 36 to 41 million cubic meters. However, the front of the lava flow deposit in the vicinity of the Mabinit and Bonga gullies is estimated to be still within seven aerial kilometers from the crater," the Phivolcs bulletin said.
The institute maintained Alert Level 4 over Mayon, saying that a hazardous explosive eruption may still occur anytime."

Meanwhile, data from Albay’s Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council office showed a slight decrease in the number of evacuees recorded at 43,148 persons or 9,337 families, short by 100 persons compared to the other day’s 43,248 persons or 9,382 families housed in 28 evacuation centers. At least 32 barangays from the three cities and five towns around MayonVolcano in Albay province were affected adversely by the on-going "quiet eruption" of the Philippines’ most restive volcano.

A tent hospital donated to the National Disaster Coordinating Council by the US government was being set up in the Barangay Salvacion evacuation center in Sto. Domingo, Albay. The makeshift hospital will attend to the health needs of over 2,000 evacuees in the center.

About 100 portalets or "portable toilets" were also being set up in several evacuation centers to meet their hygiene and sanitation requirements.

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