Mayon eruption update for 12/16/2009

Lava on Mayon, December 2009, with Legazpi City in the foreground.

The mainstream media has picked up on the activity at Mayon - I've seen it splashed across CNN, FoxNews, ABC, BBC and others. Most of the coverage has been decent, however, I do worry when I see that people have found Eruptions using search terms like "Mayon supervolcano". I think that is when we worry that the made-for-TV word like "supervolcano" has gotten a little overused, when people worry every volcanic eruption might be a "supervolcano."

On to the update!

Explosions have continued unabated at Mayon, with the explosive plume reaching 500 m / 1600 feet - which is small fry in the realms of ash plumes, but indicates that the volcano might still be "clearing its throat" as it were. Renato Solidum of PHIVOLCS gave this warning: "There is the possibility that it can turn into the explosive phase of the eruption", which I would assume he means a true Plinian phase. The continuing explosions, lava extrusion (see video below) and high levels of seismicity mean that the evacuations for the area will continue. Almost 30,000 people have already been moved.

The BBC posted some video of the eruption and from that, it looks pretty clear to me that the lava flow isn't as much low viscosity flows as crumbling, glowing dome rock. You can see the tumbling chunks of lava rolling down the mountain - an event like this is like to produce a lot of hot "block-and-ash" flow deposits with plenty of breadcrust bombs.

More like this

Sorry about the lack of posts - the holiday and "real life" had stepped in the way. On with the news! Mayon Volcano in the Philippines with Legazpi City in the foreground. Mayon, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, is causing concern due to increasing signs of activity. Renato…
Looks like last night was busy, volcanically speaking. Eruptions readers noted that VAAC warning of ash from both Mayon (to 10,000 feet / 3.0 km) and Bezymianny (to 32,000 feet / 10 km) were issued {hat tip to Chance Metz for the updates}. Here is some more news on these ongoing events: Mayon…
Lava flows from Mayon, taken December 23, 2009. Volcano news over the holidays this year is still focused on Mayon in the Philippines. We're reaching almost a month since the volcano starting showing signs of a major eruption, but no "big one" yet. Lava flows, ash and block-and-ash flows are…
The new dome erupting at Mayon in the Philippines on December 14-15, 2009. It appears that the eruption that PHIVOLCS had been waiting for at Mayon has arrived, with new magma reaching the surface and spilling down the slopes of the volcano. Or, as CNN International put it: The island nation's most…

Ash explosions shake restive volcano in eastern Philippines

Manila - Ash explosions shook a restive volcano in the eastern Philippines Wednesday as frightened residents fled their homes, the government said. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said in one of the explosions of Mayon volcano in Albay province, 360 kilometres south-east of Manila, the ashes reached as high as 500 metres above the crater.

The agency said 78 volcanic earthquakes and tremors were recorded overnight and molten lava rolled down continuously from Mayon's crater.

It added that the incandescent lava front has reached at least 800 metres down the slope of the volcano.

"The volcanic earthquakes represent magma ascent towards the crater of the volcano," the agency said in a statement. "If the trend is one of increasing unrest, hazardous volcanic eruption is possible within weeks."

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said more than 22,000 people had been moved to evacuation centres by late Tuesday and thousands more would be evacuated within the next two days.

"I have ordered food to be prepared for the evacuees," he said. "They have to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve in evacuation centres."

Raffy Alejandro, a regional director of the Office of Civil Defence, said the evacuation's target was a total of 47,285 people or 9,946 families from six municipalities around the volcano.

The 2,472-metre volcano has erupted about 50 times since 1616. It last erupted in July 2006, forcing more than 30,000 people to flee their homes.

Mayon's 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.

from here,ash-explosions-shake-res…

I have to admit, those pictures of Mayon with the Lava flowing down and its beautiful shape are superb.

Poor Erik - you worry so much about how much people worry.
Let the networks have some fun scaring people. Those nice symetric stratocones erupt 99 times nicely, building up the cone steadily, for every 1 time they blow up like Somma or St Helens. Let em hype their "fiery glowing tongue of molten destructive lava". A few people will surf into your site and maybe find out about the VEI Index and really learn something.
Now whats this about 20 some odd other active volcanoes in the Phillippines?

Looks like another volcno just erupted. Does not have to do with Mayon but I thought I would give everyone a heads up.

Kamchatkan and Northern Kuriles Volcanic Activity
Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 22:30 UTC (Thursday, December 17, 10:30 KST)



BEZYMIANNY VOLCANO: 55°58'N, 160°36'E; Elevation 2,895 m

According to seismic data, an explosive eruption of the volcano began at 21: 45 UTC on December 16. Ash explosions > 10.0 km (>32,800 ft)ASL could occur at any time. The activity of the volcano could affect international and low-flying aircraft.

Seismic activity of the volcano began to increase from December 08, but a size of thermal anomaly - from December 16. At 17:07 UTC on December 16, a size of the thermal anomaly was 6 pixels and the temperature was +19.4 with -23 of background. No visual and video data - the volcano obscured by clouds. But possibly ash fall began occur at Kozyrevsk village from 22:25 UTC on December 16.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 16 Dec 2009 #permalink

A VAA was issued for the eruption. Looks like the ash plume is 32,000 feet asl which is pretty high.

Received FVFE01 at 23:41 UTC, 16/12/09 from RJTD

DTG: 20091216/2341Z
PSN: N5559E16035
OBS VA DTG: 16/2232Z
OBS VA CLD: UNKNOWN/FL320 N5619E16012-N5633E15943-N5616E15916-N5602E1

5938 MOV W 60KT
FCST VA CLD +6HR: 17/0432Z SFC/FL200 N5700E15230-N5700E15630-N5530E15

630-N5530E15230 FL200/350 N5733E15225-N5730E15500-N5630E15500-N5529E1

5307-N5530E15100-N5630E15100 FL350/550 NO VA EXP
FCST VA CLD +12HR: 17/1032Z SFC/FL200 N5600E14700-N5600E15300-N5400E1

5300-N5400E14700 FL200/350 N5528E14327-N5656E14852-N5700E15000-N5554E

14957-N5333E14737-N5330E14330 FL350/550 NO VA EXP
FCST VA CLD +18HR: 17/1632Z SFC/FL200 N5248E14327-N5430E14801-N5430E1

5100-N5256E15057-N5127E14432-N5130E14330 FL200/350 N5418E13758-N5533E

14455-N5530E14630-N5424E14625-N5131E14401-N5130E13800 FL350/550 NO
NXT ADVISORY: 20091217/0600Z=

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 16 Dec 2009 #permalink

maganda sana ang paglabas ng lava kaso. Ito ay nakakasira sa kabuhanyan ng taga they should have to evacute so that they can protect their selves in the tragedy.

By romel verano (not verified) on 16 Dec 2009 #permalink

And another philliphine volcano, Kanlaon, is restness from a few months ago with increased seismicity.

By Guillermo (not verified) on 16 Dec 2009 #permalink

I mean "restless"

By Guillermo (not verified) on 16 Dec 2009 #permalink

i dont get it you get all kind of volcanos a round the word that eruption but has soon has you come too the USA your not geting any volcanos eruptioning why is that not saying am wanting one too eruption but it would be cool too see one do

David: USA's got plenty of active volcanoes. What about Kilauea? Or all the Aleutian volcanoes like Cleveland, Shishaldin, Redoubt, Pavlof, etc etc?

Or do you mean the "lower 48"? Given their eruptive style, not sure that another Cascades eruption would be widely welcomed (volcanophiles apart) And let's not even whisper about Yellowstone or Long Valley

sorry yes i mean the lower 48

I would love to see the fiery cream of mayon with our pint size malificent president in it and all her legions!!!

the AMPATUANS too.


Its a wonderfull site the world to speculate!

I will storm the heavens with my prayers that my brothers and sisters will be safe...


By Pete Kennedy Ledon (not verified) on 17 Dec 2009 #permalink

David was unhappy that we don't have active volcanoes in the lower 48 states of the USA. We do. Mount Saint Helens and Mount Baker are both active volcanoes- they just aren't blowing up like Bezymiyanni, and Mayon may well do. Baker puts out 200 tons of CO2 per day, and the fumaroles are constantly emitting gas and steam. They roar like jet engines, 24/7, and the gas plume is frequently visible from the populated lowlands of the Salish Sea. Check out the MBVRC website:
Dave Tucker
Bellingham, WA

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