By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
As higher pressure builds up at Mayon Volcano, more lava collapse events were recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), doubling to 143 events since Tuesday morning.
Phivolcs noted that the lava collapses triggered a rockfall along the front and margins of advancing lava and pyroclastic flows into Miisi, Matanag, and Buyuan Gullies, located within the six-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ).
These events generated ash cloud that drifted towards the southwest, it added.
It also observed increasing sulfur dioxide emission, measuring at an average of 3,293 tons per day. Phivolcs said sulfur dioxide is one of the components of magma or lava.
According to Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum, the impending eruption of Mayon Volcano is not expected to be as massive as that of Mt. Pinatubo, citing the different magma composition of the two volcanoes.
Mayon Volcano had 51 major eruptions in history compared with Mt. Pinatubo which only had two (June 1991 and July 1992).
Alert level 3 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano as it continues to be in a high level of unrest.
Phivolcs said magma is creeping up the restive volcano’s crater and hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or even days.
The public is advised to be vigilant and to stay away from the PDZ and the seven-kilometer extended danger zone on the southern flanks due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.
Increased vigilance against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden streamflows along channels draining the edifice is also advised.
Civil aviation authorities were also asked to advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.