Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum said that there is no imminent eruption foreseen on Mt. Pinatubo amid an increase in the number of recorded volcanic earthquakes in the past few days.
“Wala tayong nakikita [imminent eruption] sa kasalukuyan base sa mga chemistry ng tubig at pagbuga ng gas diyan sa Pinatubo. Wala pong magma na umaakyat sa kasalukuyan,” Solidum said in a Teleradyo interview on Wednesday, May 19.
(We do not see an imminent eruption at present based on the chemistry of water and gas emissions in Pinatubo. There is no magma rising at the moment).
In the last 24 hours, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recorded only three earthquakes in Mt. Pinatubo.
“Ang Pinatubo magmula noong Enero ay talagang nagpakita ng napakaraming lindol kaya itinaas natin sa Alert Level 1. Lately, ngayong buwan ng Abril o Mayo madalas na hindi ganun karami pero ang huling mataas na bilang ay noong Lunes na nagkaroon ng 42 volcanic earthquakes,” Solidum, who is also the OIC of Phivolcs, explained.
(Since January, Mt. Pinatubo has manifested an increase in earthquakes so we raised its status to Alert Level 1. Lately, in April or May, there were not much earthquakes. The last time it had a high number of recorded earthquakes was on Monday, May 17, with 42 volcanic earthquakes).
Mt. Pinatubo’s status was raised to Alert Level 1 due to its “abnormal” condition on March 4, 2021.
Solidum said that the earthquakes may be related to tectonic processes beneath Mt. Pinatubo’s edifice.
“Iba ito sa Taal kasi base sa ating pagbabantay at pag-aaral ang mga lindol ay malalalim, below 10 kilometers karamihan. Ito po ay sanhi ng pagkilos ng local fault sa paligid ng Pinatubo. Yung pagpunta natin sa main crater ng Pinatubo noong mga nakaraang linggo ay walang ebidensya na may magma na nagkocontribute sa activity ng Pinatubo sa kasalukuyan,” Solidum said.
(This is different from Taal because based on our observation and analysis, the earthquakes are deep, mostly are below 10 kilometers. This is due to the movement of a local fault around Pinatubo. We have been to the main crater of Pinatubo in recent weeks. We found that there is no evidence that magma is contributing to the current activity of Pinatubo).
Nevertheless, Solidum reiterated that entry into the Pinatubo crater must be conducted with extreme caution and should be avoided if possible.
He added that communities and local government units surrounding Pinatubo should be always prepared for both earthquake and volcanic hazards and to review, prepare and strengthen their contingency, emergency, and other disaster preparedness plans.