Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2 Sorsogon towns warned of possible steam-driven explosions after Friday's Bulusan explosion

LEGAZPI CITY, May 2 (PNA) -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned local government units and the public in Juban and Irosin towns in Sorsogon province that entry in the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone of the Bulusan Volcano is strictly prohibited due to the possibility of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.

Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon exploded on Friday morning which coincided with the Labor Day celebration.

The Phivolcs also warned the people living within valleys and along rivers and stream channels to be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahars in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall.

It further warned civil aviation authorities to advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.

These, after the Bulusan Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the country, exploded at 8:09 a.m. Friday and produced steam and ash explosions which lasted for five minutes, based on seismic records.

Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist in Bicol said, the ejected ash drifted towards the villages of Puting Sapa and Sangayon in Juban town and in Cogon, Gulang-Gulang and Tinampo villages of Irosin town.

“This is just a minor explosion which coincided with the Labor Day celebration. We’re closely monitoring the activity if it will escalate in the coming days,” Laguerta said.

The event, however, was not observed visually due to thick rain clouds covering the volcano's summit.

At around 10:30 a.m., when the crater became visible, strong to moderate, dirty white steaming was observed, which reached 200 meters high and drifted west-northwest coming from the northwest vent of the volcano.

Five volcanic earthquakes were detected during the past week by the Bulusan seismic network.

After the steam and ash explosion on Friday, the Phivolcs network recorded approximately 40 volcanic earthquakes.

Despite this behavior, Alert Level 0 status currently prevails over the Bulusan volcano.

Laguerta said the Bulusan Volcano was placed under the instrumental observation to check if its activity will escalate.

The volcano last erupted in 2011.

Laguerta said the Phivolcs is closely monitoring the Bulusan Volcano’s activity and they will immediately relay any new development to all concerned.(PNA) JBP/FGS/RBB/CBD/pjn