Saturday, May 12, 2007

Volcano becomes active in the Phillippines but is not dangerous yet!

A volcano in the central Philippines shot clouds of grayish ash and steam four kilometers (2.5 miles) high Saturday, but residents were in no immediate danger from the eruption, volcanologists said.

It was the sixth eruption of the 1,560-meter (5,149-foot) Mount Bulusan this year, said Espie del Mundo of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

"This is usually just ash, so the only hazard is from ash,'' such as respiratory ailments, del Mundo said.

The volcanic ash caused "zero visibility'' over some parts of Juban and Irosin towns, making it hazardous for motorists, said Mayor Edwin Hamor of nearby Casiguran who visited the area.
He said fire trucks were needed to wash ash off the roads to prevent it from being churned up into clouds of choking dust to avoid accidents.

The volcano erupted around 10:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) and winds first blew the ash plume toward the southwest and later shifted to the north, volcanologists said.

Before Saturday's eruption, Bulusan twice spewed ash on April 9 in steam-driven or phreatic explosions, del Mundo said.

Volcanologists say the volcanic hazards from Bulusan were less than its cousin, the Mayon Volcano, in nearby Albay province whose deadly eruptions have been characterized by glowing rivers of lava and pyroclastic flows -- clouds of extremely hot gases, ash and other debris that race down mountain slopes at high speed, incinerating everything in their path.

Bulusan, about 390 kilometers (240 miles) southeast of Manila, is one of the 22 active volcanos in the Philippines. Volcanic activity as well as earthquakes are common in the Philippines since it lies on the Pacific Ocean's "Ring of Fire.''

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