Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Mayon's alert level has finally been lowered
This means a diminished probability for a hazardous major eruption,” Phivolcs said in a bulletin.But the institute warned that despite the lowered alert status, “Mayon remains in an eruptive state because lava continues to extrude from the summit crater”.“Such activity makes it possible for pockets of gas-rich magma to be released explosively,” it added.Due to the continuing threat of sudden explosions, Phivolcs stressed that areas within 7km from the summit on Mayon’s southeast sector and a permanent 6km danger zone all around the volcano were still dangerous.
“These areas should remain off-limits,” it said.Residents living in areas outside of the danger zones would not be allowed to go home, local officials said. More than 30,000 people have remained in evacuation centres for more than one month now due to threats of a hazardous eruption.During the past 24 hours, Phivolcs said it has recorded 253 tremor episodes associated with lava chunks detaching from the summit crater and intermittent lava flows at Mayon’s south-east flank.
However, there were no volcanic earthquakes and sulfur dioxide emissions were down to 1,500 tons per day.Mayon volcano, famous for its almost perfect cone, began to spew lava on July 15 in what volcanologists called a “quiet eruption” that attracted foreign and local tourists.The 2,472m volcano has erupted about 50 times since 1616. It last came to life in a series of eruptions in 2001, forcing about 50,000 people to evacuate but causing no casualties.Its most violent eruption was in 1814 when more than 1,200 people were killed and a town was buried in volcanic mud. An eruption in 1993 killed 79 people.