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Phl prepares for Mayon ‘big bang’
the present condition of Mt. Mayon may lead to a big explosion
Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta issued the statement during the Mayon condition assessment meeting led by Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda and attended by officials of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) and local government unit executives at the AECID conference room of the APSEMO building in Legaspi City.
Laguerta said it has been four years now since the volcano last erupted in 2009.
He said in the past, Mayon usually erupted within an interval of 7-12 years, adding that its recent eruptions occurred within an interval of just 3-6 years.
He cited as an example the eruptions in 1993, 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2009.
Laguerta stressed the importance of close monitoring of the activities of Mayon physically and through the Phivolcs' various instruments on the geophysical, geochemical and geodetic aspects of the volcano.
The geodetic aspect refers to the shape of the volcano – and, he said, the volcano is inflated.
The geochemical behavior of Mayon, Laguerta said, refers to the volume of sulfur oxide (SO2) it spews, whose baseline is 500 metric tons per day.
He said the present volume of SO2 being vomited by Mayon reaches at least a thousand metric tons, while the geophysical aspect touches on the movement of magma inside the volcano.
The Phivolcs official said the lava dome that has formed on the mouth of Mayon reaches up to 30-50 meters high.
“Definitely, Mayon will explode though we cannot tell when,” he said. “It might be in the next few days, weeks, months or one year.”
Laguerta, however, assured that if ever Mayon erupts, it would not be sudden and it will be recorded by the instruments and be evident through the physical appearance of the volcano.
He said the first risk that will be brought by volcano would be ash puffs, followed by ash falls -- and these will not have signs or precursors.
He said the big eruption of the volcano will be magmatic, wherein there will be voluminous pyroclastic flows like in the 1984 eruption.
Laguerta said it has been 13 years since Mayon last erupted in 2001 when there was pyroclastic flow.
It was a lava flow in 2006 and 2009.