By Chito Chavez
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Sunday raised the alert on Mayon Volcano in Albay from Level 1 (abnormal) to Level 2 (increasing unrest).
With this, Phivolcs said the unrest at Mayon Volcano was likely of magmatic origin leading further to phreatic (steam-driven) eruptions or magmatic eruptions a danger.
Yesterdayy afternoon, Phivolcs recorded a phreatic eruption that lasted for an hour and 47 minutes prompting provincial authorities to conduct an evacuation of several barangays near Mayon.
Phivolcs “strongly advised” the public against entering the six-kilometer danger zone around Mayon given the seriousness of the situation.
Also ash-fall events may affect the communities on the western and southwestern sides of Mayon Volcano.
This prompted Phivolcs officials to advise the affected residents to use damp but clean cloth or dust masks in covering their mouths and noses as protection.
Phivolcs authorities had recommended civil aviation officials to advise pilots against flying close to Mayon’s summit.
A phreatic eruption was last recorded at Mayon in May 2013.
Yesterday, Mayon Volcano emitted a smoke cloud reaching as high as 3 kilometers.
Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the phreatic explosion, or steam buildup inside the volcano, occurred at 5:06 p.m.
At 11 p.m. yesterday, Solidum said rock falls have been observed from Mayon.
He added that rock-fall events are being recorded from the summit of the volcano indicating its initial activity.