Albay, Bicol — Mayon Volcano in Albay, Philippines continues to show signs of heightened activity, with various observations from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Mayon Volcano Observatory. However, one of the country’s main volcanologists says that the probability of a violent eruption like Mount Pinatubo in 1991 is low. According to Phivolcs’ Paul Alanis, the volcano’s current activity, including the visible glow from its crater, does not necessitate raising the alert level to 4 from the current 3.

Alanis explained that Mayon Volcano’s eruption patterns were frequently compared to Mount Pinatubo in Zambales, and history shows that there have been no violent eruptions. Instead, the perfect cone shape of the volcano can be attributed to its regular eruptions. At present, fresh magma is pushing out of the old lava dome, clogging the summit crater, and leading to higher volumes of sulfur dioxide emission than the baseline measurement.

Phivolcs reported that rockfall events have caused lava debris to accumulate within 700 meters of the summit crater, leading to thin ash and steam-laden plumes drifting toward the southeast. An average of 1,205 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions per day was measured, and pyroclastic density currents were also recorded.

Phivolcs cautioned against hazards such as pyroclastic density currents, lahar, and sediment-laden streamflows, especially during heavy rainfall, which can generate lahar in channels where volcanic deposits have accumulated. Authorities are urging increased vigilance to civil aviation authorities and asking pilots to avoid flying near the volcano’s summit due to the potential dangers of ash from a sudden eruption.

As of now, a total of 2,996 families or 10,582 individuals have been evacuated from the six-kilometer permanent danger zone (PDZ) of Mayon. The Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office reported that evacuation efforts could increase if authorities expand the danger zone beyond the PDZ.

The safety of the affected individuals is of utmost importance amid the ongoing evacuation efforts around Mayon Volcano in Albay, Philippines. To ensure the well-being of those in evacuation centers, Phivolcs is closely monitoring all health concerns, and Health Secretary Ted Herbosa has ordered the deployment of additional tents to decongest the centers. The DOH has emphasized the importance of taking steps to protect against airborne illnesses such as measles, COVID-19, and flu. They are advising people staying in evacuation centers to continue wearing face masks and getting vaccinated as an additional defense against airborne diseases.

In summary, while Mayon Volcano’s heightened activity continues, it is anticipated that it will not erupt as violently as Mount Pinatubo did in 1991. However, authorities and residents in surrounding areas need to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions against potential hazards caused by the volcano’s current activity.