PHIVOLCS raises alert level 2 over Mayon, warns of possible eruptions

Clouds enclose the surface of the Mayon Volcano as it spewed an ash column the height of up to three kilometers late Saturday afternoon

Mountain Mayon, one of the most active Philippine volcanos, famous for its beauty and near-perfect symmetry, is in Albay province on the Philippine main Luzon Island, more than 300 km southeast of the Philippines capital Manila.

Residents of at least two villages within the six kilometer radius around the volcano have already been evacuated, but some people still remain in the danger zone, hoping the threat is not yet "critical".

Saturday's eruption unleashed ash, rocks and sulfuric odor, and was followed by rumbling sounds and a faint glow in the crater, according to Phivolcs.

"This means that current unrest is probably of magmatic origin, which could lead to more phreatic eruptions or eventually hazardous magmatic eruptions", PHIVOLCS said in a 12:30 a.m. bulletin, Sunday.

"Since the eruption, rockfall events have been intermittently recorded and are continuing as of the time of the release of this bulletin".

Mayon's most destructive eruption was in February 1841, when lava flows buried a town and killed 1,200 people.

With the raising of the alert level, people are advised against entering the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone, and people living in the volcano's southwest and west sides should prepare for possible ash fall events.

Phivolcs warned pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano's summit as ash from the sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.

Mayon last erupted in 2014.

Prior to this phreatic eruption, Mayon's edifice has undergone inflationary changes or a slight swelling of the edifice as indicated by ground deformation data recorded by continuous Global Positioning System and tilt since October and November 2017, respectively.

Residents around Mayon Volcano are advised to be more vigilant, as government scientists raise the alert level for the volcano early Sunday, January 14.

The displaced residents have taken shelter in schools turned into evacuation centres, Gomez said.

However, Cedric Daep, the head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, stated that those who have evacuated may be allowed to return to their homes if the volcano alert is not upped another level.

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