Mayon Update for 12/28/2009

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 continuing to be issued from the new dome at the summit, but earthquakes are down some - which is leading to the problem that people are thinking the volcano is "safe". Many evacuees are returning home already, even with the threat-level at Mayon is unchanged.

This danger of people losing faith/not believing the volcano monitoring scientists is a constant concern with the volcano doesn't "behave as predicted". The balance between the economic/social reality of leaving one's home and the perceived danger of the volcano is difficult to strike - and many people will not think they are in real danger until, well, they are in real danger.

Of course, these questions are no excuse for tourists who try to enter the danger zone of a volcano. One thing the Philippine government shouldn't have to spend time and money on right now is keeping tourists out of a hazardous situation. For a less dangerous view of the volcano, check out this series of images from the December 2009 activity as well - the lava flowing down the flank from the summit with flow levees and the darker, cooled crust in the first image is especially impressive. Philippine authorities have also designated the area around Mayon a "no fly zone" due to the potential volcanic hazard.

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Hi Erik! Great you took the time to post over Xmas and thanks once again for the great links.

Given the initial hypothesis that Mayon was just clearing its conduit before letting rip with a Plinian blast of fresh magma, these pictures seem to indicate a pretty high volume of magma has been erupted already. Can this lava still be the product of the volcano clearing its throat or are we actually witnessing the height of the eruption already?

(that's the 64 million dollar question, I know).

On other topics, there has been a bit of an earthquake swarm directly under Mt Edgecumbe in the Taupo Volcanic Zone recently and to my uneducated eye the seismogram on nearby Mt. Tarawera seems to be indicating a bit of tremor over the last few days, today in particular.

By bruce stout (not verified) on 28 Dec 2009 #permalink

The people who have been evacuated to the Government shelters were not served with water and food.

They have no choice.
Risk the volcano or die from hunger.

That's their problem.

By Ron de Haan (not verified) on 28 Dec 2009 #permalink

About a week ago I bought this suped-up gaming PC, with about 8 GB of memory and it is so AMAZING! I can play Fallout 3, StarCraft 2, and Bloons TD and with no interruptions at all. I purchased mine from eBay, all for like five hundred greenbacks all in... pretty good deal IMO.