Mt. Mayon displays signs of heightened restiveness

LEGAZPI CITY, Oct. 13  - Mayon volcano continues to show signs of restlessness signified by high level of sulfur dioxide emission and high and low frequency volcanic quakes, prompting disaster authorities to strictly enforce the "no entry" rule in designated danger zone areas surrounding the volcano.

Police and military personnel manning the 12 checkpoints along the danger zone at the volcano's down slope are closely on guard for any human activity inside the designated "no man's land" areas covering the towns of Sto. Domingo, Daraga, Camalig, including the cities of Ligao, Tabaco and Legazpi.

Col. Marlou Salazar, commanding officer of the Army's 901st Brigade said they have prepositioned 35 trucks in case an evacuation order is given by the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) once the volcano's alert status is raised to level 3.

Quakes and high level of sulfur dioxide disgorged by Mt. Mayon were clear signs that the volcano continues to be on heightened state of restiveness, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Monday.

Phivolcs bulletin on Tuesday said the volcano disgorged 791 tons of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) for the past 24 hours, which is way above the fluctuating range recorded during the past three days.

The agency seismic instruments detected only seven high and low frequency volcanic earthquakes, bringing the total to 43 quakes recorded since last October 5.

Scientists said the volcano's abnormality levels are indication of a possible eruptive state.

Phivolcs scientists are continuously observing Mayon volcano's fluctuating seismic precursors such as quakes, gas emission and ground deformation as these are indications that the volcano's seismic activity may possibly lead to an explosive eruption.

Phivolcs advisory said high and low frequency harmonic quakes were detected by seismic instruments, signifying that magma intrusion is developing in the volcano's crater vent.

Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist, said the agency seismic networks have recorded about over a hundred earthquakes rocking the volcano this October.

He said the agency is still assessing the abnormal state of the volcano based on given parameters like ground deformation, volcanic quakes and gas emission, and crater glow.

Precise Leveling results indicate the volcano edifice remains inflated at 6.0 mm swelling at the Buang lines while Lidong lines posted a 1.0-mm inflation.

The volcano did not exhibit crater glow due to cloudy sky prevailing in the volcano's crater.

Alert level 2 remains hoisted over Mayon Volcano and Phivolcs strongly recommended that the 6-km Permanent Danger Zone including the 7-km extended danger zones be off limits to any human activity due to threat from sudden explosions and rockfalls from the upper slopes of the volcano. (PNA)