Eruptions


Mayon erupting in August 2004.

The increasing unrest at Mayon in the Philippines has prompted National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) to recommend the evacuation of over 75,000 people from around the volcano. This, however, will only happen if the activity at the volcano continues to increase. The volcano currently sits at Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) and if it were to increase to Level 3 (increased tendency towards eruption), then the evacuations of the first ~1,800 families closest to the volcano would begin. Only if the volcano reached Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent) would the full evacuation of the 75,000 people in the “High Risk Zone” that extends 8 kilometer / 5 miles around the main crater area. Centers are currently being set up to accommodate some of the evacuees.

Of course, there are always people who don’t want to heed the warnings of the authorities and Mayon is no exception. Upwards of 6,000 people living within 6 kilometers / 3.7 miles of the volcano have so far refused to evacuated the government-designated “no man’s land” close to Mayon. Many of the residents are farmers who were relocated from the area but continue to return. The area around Mayon are quite fertile thanks, in part, to the volcano material deposited on its slopes – and people don’t want to leave their home if its not necessary. This has been an ongoing struggle between local residents and officials about evacuating/relocating but the importance of maintaining a buffer around the volcano was highlighted in 2004 1993 when 80 people near Lepazgi City were killed by an unforeseen eruption of the volcano. However, there are no indications that local officials will forcibly remove people (at this point at least).

PHIVOLC plans to measure the sulfur dioxide emissions from Mayon in the next few days. Seimicity has increased to the levels of the August 2008 phreatic eruption of the volcano and the levels of inflation of the edifice (0.4-1 cm) have been sustained over the weekend. The last major eruption of Mayon was in 2006.

Comments

  1. #1 MadScientist
    July 14, 2009

    That’s a nice PF – but if I saw it I’d be running behind that church and hoping the PF doesn’t get to me (or knock that bell tower over me). It’s difficult to guess at distances in a photo though.

  2. #2 Boris Behncke
    July 14, 2009

    Sorry to be a bit “picky” but you cite a surprise eruption at Mayon that killed some 70 to 80 people. This eruption was not in 2004, but in 1993 (on 2 February). There have been no human fatalities during the subsequent Mayon eruptions in 2000, 2001, and 2006, although the latest of these was followed, in December 2006, by a catastrophic typhoon that unleashed lahars at Mayon, killing more than 1000.

  3. #3 Erik Klemetti
    July 14, 2009

    Thanks for catching that error. I’ve fixed it in the text. And to all the Eruptions readers out there: never be shy about pointing out factual errors in the posts. I try to make sure I have it right, but sometimes these things happen. I’d much prefer to get it right.

  4. #4 Teddydeedodu
    July 15, 2009

    Madscientist: “but if I saw it I’d be running behind that church and hoping the PF doesn’t get to me (or knock that bell tower over me). ”

    That wouldn’t be a good shelter. I think that bell tower was part of a church that got buried from one the eruptions a few centuries ago!!??

  5. #5 dookiebot
    December 23, 2009

    Actually I believe that belltower was the only thing not buried in a 19th/turn of the century eruption.

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