Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mayon's lava flows stops

Ed Laguerta, a resident volcanologist at the Ligñon Hill observatory here who led the survey team on board a Huey helicopter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), said that the extruding lava from the crater had slowed down so and had failed to push the lava toe further into the boundary of the seven-kilometer permanent danger zone.

He said that the lava extrusion has already slowed down and was only moving down to the mid-slope. The movement of the lava toe had already totally stop which eliminates the possibility of it moving beyond seven kilometer danger boundary that could have threatened the barangays of Mabini, Bonga, Matanag, here, and Matnog in Daraga town.

Laguera added that the threat of the lava proceeding towards the populated areas down Mayon’s slopes is currently eliminated at this stage.

He said they would need at least a week or two to determine whether the 2,462-meter volcano’s overall activities are already waning, saying other parameters remained very high compared to their normal readings.

He added that while the other parameters are in the downward trend, the other parameters remained very high, such as the SO2 which again at over 6,500 tons in yesterday’s reading.
Laguerta said that at least 15 more volcanic quakes, indicating continued magma ascent towards the surface of the volcano, and some 253 tremors caused by lava extrusion and rockfalls were detected by the agency’s instruments.

"With these fluctuating parameters, there is no guarantee yet or solid basis to say that Mayon is already simmering down," Laguerta said.

Phivolcs latest bulletin said that "lack of explosions for the past 24 hours does not mean that the activity of Mayon is waning. Other parameters like elevated SO2 flux, continuous lava flow and significant number of volcanic earthquake are indicators that the volcano is still undergoing high level of unrest."

The institute maintained alert level 4 over Mayon, saying that everybody must remain alert for a hazardous explosive eruptions that might happen anytime.

Because of Mayon’s abnormal condition some 43,849 persons or 9,336 families remained housed yesterday at the 28 evacuation centers in the three cities and five municipality of Albay.

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