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January 15, 2018
January 15, 2018 1:05 PM EST
LEGAZPI, Philippines — Nearly 15,000 people have fled from villages around the Philippines’ most active volcano as lava flowed down its crater Monday in a gentle eruption that scientists warned could turn explosive.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology increased the alert level for Mount Mayon late Sunday to three on a scale of five, indicating an increased prospect of a hazardous eruption “within weeks or even days.”
Lava flowed at least half a kilometre (less than half a mile) down a gulley from the crater on Monday morning and ash clouds appeared mid-slope as lava fragments rolled down, said Renato Solidum, who heads the volcano institute. It was hard to track down the lava flow given the thick clouds shrouding the volcano.
Molten rocks and lava at Mayon’s crater lit the night sky Sunday in a reddish-orange glow despite the thick cloud cover, leaving spectators awed but sending thousands of residents into evacuation shelters.
Residents ride on the back of a truck as they are evacuated to a temporary shelter due to Mayon volcano’s eruption in Camalig town, Albay province, south of Manila on January 15, 2018. CHARISM SAYAT/AFP/Getty Images
Disaster-response officials said more than 14,700 people have been moved from high-risk areas in three cities and four towns in an ongoing evacuation. People in the danger area have put up huge white crosses in the past in their neighbourhoods, hoping to protect their lives and homes.
“There are some who still resist but if we reach alert level four, we’ll really be obligated to resort to forced evacuation,” Cedric Daep, an Albay emergency official, told The Associated Press. Level four signifies the volcano could erupt violently within days.
Mayon lies in coconut-growing Albay province about 340 kilometres (210 miles) southeast of Manila.
The glow (at top) of lava from the cloud-covered Mayon volcano as it erupts is pictured from the Philippine city of Legazpi in Albay province, early on January 15, 2018. SIMVALE SAYAT/AFP/Getty Images
Three steam-explosions since Saturday have spewed ash into nearby villages and may have breached solidified lava plugging the crater and caused lava to start gushing out, Solidum said.
With its near-perfect cone, Mayon is popular with climbers and tourists but has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently.
In 2013, an ash eruption killed five climbers, including three Germans, who had ventured near the summit despite warnings of possible danger.
Experts fear a major eruption could trigger pyroclastic flows — superheated gas and volcanic debris that race down the slopes at high speeds, incinerating or vaporizing everything in their path. More extensive explosions of ash could drift toward nearby towns and cities, including Legazpi city, the provincial capital, about nine miles (15 kilometres) away.
In this image made from video, dark pyroclastic ash cloud rises from Mayon volcano after its eruption as seen from Legazpi city, Albay province, around 340 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. (Earl Recamunda/AP Photo)
The bulletin sent Sunday night said a hazardous eruption was possible within weeks or even days. It said the glow in the crater signified the growth of a new lava dome and that the evacuation zone should be enforced due to the dangers of falling rocks, landslides or a collapse of the dome.
Airplanes have been warned not to fly close to the volcano.
Mayon’s first recorded eruption was in 1616. The most destructive in 1814 killed 1,200 people and buried the town of Cagsawa in volcanic mud. The belfry of a Cagsawa church juts out of the ground in a reminder of Mayon’s deadly fury and has become a tourist attraction.
Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed to this report.
Lava flows from Philippine volcano as thousands flee
Glowing red lava rolls down slopes of Philippine volcano
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January 15, 2018
January 15, 2018 9:35 PM EST
Lava cascades down the slopes of Mayon volcano as seen from Legazpi city, Albay province, around 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines, Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. More than 9,000 people have evacuated the area around the Philippines' most active volcano as lava flowed down its crater Monday in a gentle eruption that scientists warned could turn explosive.Earl Recamunda / AP
LEGAZPI, Philippines — Glowing red lava rolled down the slopes of a Philippine volcano Tuesday morning as authorities maintained a warning of a possible hazardous eruption.
The lava was quietly flowing in some places but at times Mount Mayon was erupting like a fountain, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said. Lava had advanced up to 2 kilometres from the crater, and ash reached up to 2 kilometres and fell on nearby communities.
Nearly 15,000 people have fled the danger zone within 6 to 7 kilometres of Mayon, and the institute strongly advised people not to re-enter the area.
Several small pyroclastic flows were generated by fragments in the lava streams and not by an explosion from the crater vent, like occurred with Mount Pinatubo, said Renato Solidum, who heads the volcano institute. Pyroclastic flows are superheated gas and volcanic debris that can race down slopes and incinerate everything in their path, and are feared in a major eruption.
“The pyroclastic flows, there were several, were not generated by an explosion from the crater with lava, molten rocks and steam, shooting up the volcano then rolling down,” Solidum said. “These were generated by lava fragments breaking off from the lava flow in the upper slopes.”
He also said Mayon has not seen enough volcanic earthquakes of the type that would prompt scientists to raise the alert level to four, which would indicate an explosive eruption may be imminent. Emergency response officials previously said they may have to undertake forced evacuations if the alert is raised to four.
After steam explosions Saturday and lava rising in the crater on Sunday, the alert was raised to three on a scale of five, indicating a hazardous eruption is possible “within weeks or even days.”
Mayon lies in coconut-growing Albay province about 340 kilometres southeast of Manila. With its near-perfect cone, Mayon is popular with climbers and tourists but has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently.
Lava continues to cascade down the slopes of Mayon volcano as seen from Legazpi city, Albay province, around 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila, Philippines, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Glowing red lava was rolling down the slopes of a Philippine volcano as authorities maintain a warning of a possible hazardous eruption.
In 2013, an ash eruption killed five climbers who had ventured near the summit despite warnings. Mayon’s first recorded eruption was in 1616 and the most destructive in 1814 killed 1,200 people and buried the town of Cagsawa in volcanic mud.
The Philippines lies in the so-called “Ring of Fire,” a line of seismic faults surrounding the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.
In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people.
Glowing red lava rolls down slopes of Philippine volcano | Toronto Sun