Mayon continues to spew 2-kilometer ash columns

Posted at 12/29/2009 9:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Mayon Volcano continued to spew ash columns as high as 2 kilometers from its crater summit, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Tuesday.

The Phivolcs bulletin as of 7 a.m. Tuesday said a total of 9 ash explosions were observed for the past 24 hours.

"The explosions produced dirty white to light brown ash columns that rose to a maximum height of about 2000 meters above the summit before drifting towards the west and southwest," the Phivolcs bulletin said.

It added that a total of 38 volcanic earthquakes were also recorded, which indicate that the volcano's seismic activity "remained at high level." The bulletin added that the Phivolcs recorded 171 rock fall events related to the detachment of lava fragments from the volcano's upper slopes.

The volcano's sulfur dioxide emission on Monday was at an average value of 3,416 per tons a day, lower than Sunday's 4,329 tons per day.

The lava that has continued to flow down from the volcano's mouth has reached 5.8 kilometers downslope. The Phivolcs said rolling down of incandescent lava fragments were also observed from time to time.

"The status of Mayon Volcano is maintained at Alert Level 4," Phivolcs said in its bulletin, which means a hazardous eruption may still took place within days.

Local officials were confident of a "zero casualty" incident during the volcano's anticipated explosive eruption as authorities have evacuated nearly 10,000 families from the 6-kilometer to 8-kilometer danger zones of the volcano.