Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 8) — The alert over Mayon Volcano has been raised to Level 3, meaning the volcano is currently at an increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said on Thursday.
Phivolcs is recommending that authorities evacuate residents within the 6-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone of the Mayon Volcano, which is located in Albay, Bicol.
Areas surrounding the volcano are the towns of Bacacay, Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, Malilipot, and Santo Domingo, as well as the cities of Legazpi, Ligao, and Tabaco.
Speaking to CNN Philippines’ Balitaan, Phivolcs officer-in-charge Toto Bacolcol also advised the public not to enter the area as he warns of possible, “pyroclastic density current (PDC), lava flows, rock falls, and other volcanic hazards.”
In its 12 p.m. bulletin, Phivolcs said monitoring parameters of the volcano showed that “very slow extrusion of shallow degassed magma is ongoing and is incrementally increasing in rate.”
This means an effusive magmatic eruption is happening, or magma is flowing out of the volcano and not exploding.
Mayon Volcano was at Alert Level 2 or “increasing unrest” category on Monday due to an increase in rockfall from the volcano’s summit lava dome.
“Since the Alert Level status was raised from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 on 05 June 2023, repeated collapse of the growing summit dome of Mayon Volcano has generated an increasing number and volume of rockfall events,” Phivolcs said in its 12 p.m. bulletin on Thursday.
“We raised it from Alert Level 2 to 3,” Bacolcol said. “Within 24 hours, we recorded 94 rockfall events and then may [there were] two volcanic events between June 5 to 8.”
Bacolcol said three PDCs also occurred on Thursday morning, each lasting for four to five minutes, within the 1-kilometer of the summit crater.
According to the Phivolcs’ website, PDCs are “mixtures of fragmented volcanic particles (pyroclastics), hot gases, and ash that rush down the volcanic slopes or rapidly outward from a source vent at high speeds.” These can range from pyroclastic flows to pyroclastic surges depending mainly on particle concentrations.
State volcanologists said the emission of sulfur dioxide — a toxic gas that could severely irritate the respiratory tract, eyes, mucous membranes, and skin — was last measured at an average of 332 tons per day on Wednesday.
Bacolcol said this was lower than the 573 tons per day measured in previous days.