"..a bardy view!"

Mayon Pays Tribute to the Fallen

Regular readers will know that the Mount Mayon Volcano is a regular subject here. This week  she rumbled once again, with ash rising to over 1000 meters. Whilst the current alert level remains at Level 2, locals are warned to prepare for evacuation if things get worse. Mayonerupts

Around the same time an earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale occurred shaking Agusan del Norte, further south in Mindanao. Whilst the two are unlikely related, it highlights the volatility gendered by the country's position on the Pacific Rim of Fire, and even small earthquakes can trigger volcanic activity and vice versa.

However, it also demonstrates Mayon's growing unrest, and over recent months there has been substantial cause for concern. This was the most powerful explosion since July.

When Phivolcs (the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) were asked if the alert should be raised to Level 3, they replied "Wala pa po" (not yet).

Magna is very close to the crater now, and if the unrest continues an eruption is likely within weeks.

I've always regarded this volcano as a living entity, a romantic view perhaps, but anyone who has stood beneath her cannot but be moved by the awe-inspiring presence.

Mount Mayon is without doubt the most perfectly formed volcano in the world. Although many argue that Mount Fuji should hold that title, Fuji is not as accessible, and the cone is not as perfect.

This new activity occurred as the world was remembering when the guns fell silent on the 11th November, 1918 and the First World War ended. Cannons resounded to mark that day. I'd like to thing that Mayon was marking it with her own unique and personal contribution.

A superb tribute, and as the only volcanic eruption in the world at the time, who knows if it's resonance was more than coincidence?

For those interested, here are the Philvocs alert levels for Mayon and other volcanoes:

Level 1: Abnormal, Low level unrest; Slight increase in seismicity. Slight increase in SO2 gas output above the background level, very faint glow of the crater may occur but no conclusive evidence of magma ascent, phreatic explosion or ash puffs may occur. No eruption imminent. Activity may be hydrothermal, magmatic or tectonic in origin. No entry in the 6-km radius PDZ.

Level 2: Increasing unrest, moderate unrest. Low to moderate level of seismic activity, episodes of harmonic tremor, increasing SO2 flux, faint/intermittent crater glow. Swelling of edifice may be detected. Confirmed reports of decrease in flow of wells and springs during rainy season. Unrest probably of magmatic origin; could eventually lead to eruption. The 6-km radius Danger Zone may be extended to 7 km in the sector where the crater rim is low.

Level 3: Increased Tendency Towards Eruption, relatively high unrest. Volcanic quakes and tremor may become more frequent, further increase in SO2 flux, occurrence of rockfalls in summit area, vigorous steaming/sustained crater glow, persistent swelling of edifice. Magma is close to the crater. If trend is one of increasing unrest, eruption is possible within weeks. Extension of Danger Zone in the sector where the crater rim is low will be considered.

Level 4: Hazardous Eruption Imminent, intense unrest. Persistent tremor, many “low frequency"-type earthquakes, SO2 emission level may show sustained increase or abrupt decrease. Intense crater glow, incandescent lava fragments in the summit area, hazardous eruption is possible within days. Extension of Danger zone to 8 km or more in the sector where the crater rim is low will be recommended.

Level 5: Hazardous Eruption Ongoing. Occurrence of pyroclastic flows, tall eruption columns and extensive ash fall. Pyroclastic flows may sweep down along gullies and channels, especially along those fronting the low part(s) of the crater rim. Additional danger areas may be identified as eruption progresses. Danger to aircraft, by way of ash cloud encounter, depending on height of eruption column and/or wind drift.

November 12, 2009 - Posted by | Mount Mayon Volcano, The Philippines | , , , , , ,

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