Experts study Negros town’s ‘blue river’

Published March 2, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By (PNA)

Dumaguete City – A team from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s (Phivolcs) central office is in Negros Oriental for a series of tests, research, and water sampling of two “unusual” occurrences in Dauin town, including the “blue water phenomenon.”

The Phivolcs team, composed of Science Research Specialists Raymond Patrick R. Maximo, SRS-II, and Marie Thess D. Quilalang, SRS-I, arrived on Wednesday. They will do a study on the Masaplod River and the Mag-aso Cave and until Friday, according to Rudy Aldanese Jr., head of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) of Dauin.

Dauin Mayor Neil Credo had requested for the Phivolcs team. Earlier teams from the Chemistry Department of Silliman University and the Negros Oriental State University’s Department of Physics and Geology in Dumaguete City also made a study on the “blue water phenomenon” at the Masaplod and the unusual “increased” activity in Mag-aso Cave where there are steam vents.

The Phivolcs team took water samples and ran tests on the acidity (Ph level) of the Masaplod River’s “blue water” and its current temperature, said Aldanese.

The “blue water phenomenon” had attracted wide attention after it was posted on social media last month following the series of earthquakes in Cuernos de Negros in nearby Valencia town.

The “blue water phenomenon” is in Barangay Casile, downstream from where the two rivers converge, said Aldanese.

Credo wanted the phenomenon studied to find out its impact on the people who swim in the river.

On the first week of February, Credo directed the DRRMC, the police chief and the sanitary inspector to check the area after learning about the river water turning blue.

Aldanese declined to comment on what exactly is happening in the area, saying they do not have the technical expertise, and would rather wait for the results of Phivolcs’ study.

That might take weeks, he said.

The Phivolcs team is also checking on the unusual increase in the emission of steam in the Mag-aso Cave.

The cave, according to Aldanese, is actually just a big hole that has long since been emitting steam. It is believed linked to the geothermal resources in nearby Valencia.

Photos posted by netizens on social media showed what appeared to be increased steam emission and a gaping hole that they say was getting bigger.