Phivolcs raises Mayon Volcano's alert to Level 3

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 8) — State volcanologists raised the alert over Mayon to Level 3 on Thursday, meaning the volcano is currently at an increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption and potential explosive activity can occur within weeks or even days.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) recommended that authorities evacuate residents within the 6-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone of Mayon Volcano, which is located in Albay, Bicol.

Areas surrounding the volcano are the towns of Bacacay, Camalig, Daraga, Guinobatan, Malilipot, and Santo Domingo, as well as the cities of Legazpi, Ligao, and Tabaco.

READ: Residents of Daraga, Albay report ashfall from Mayon Volcano

Speaking to CNN Philippines' Balitaan, Phivolcs officer-in-charge Toto Bacolcol also advised the public not to enter the area as he warns of possible, "pyroclastic density current (PDC), lava flows, rock falls, and other volcanic hazards."

In its 12 p.m. bulletin, Phivolcs said monitoring parameters of the volcano showed that "very slow extrusion of shallow degassed magma is ongoing and it is incrementally increasing in rate."

This describes an effusive magmatic eruption where magma is flowing out of the volcano though not yet in an explosive manner.

But Phivolcs added that it means there could be "potential explosive activity within weeks or even days."

Mayon Volcano was at Alert Level 2 or "increasing unrest" category on Monday due to an increase in rockfall from the volcano's summit lava dome.

"Since the Alert Level status was raised from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 on 05 June 2023, repeated collapse of the growing summit dome of Mayon Volcano has generated an increasing number and volume of rockfall events," Phivolcs said in its 12 p.m. bulletin on Thursday.

"We raised it from Alert Level 2 to 3," Bacolcol said. "Within 24 hours, we recorded 94 rockfall events and then may [there were] two volcanic events between June 5 to 8."

Bacolcol said three PDCs also occurred Thursday morning, each lasting for four to five minutes, within the 1-kilometer of the summit crater.

According to the Phivolcs' website, PDCs are "mixtures of fragmented volcanic particles (pyroclastics), hot gases, and ash that rush down the volcanic slopes or rapidly outward from a source vent at high speeds." These can range from pyroclastic flows to pyroclastic surges depending mainly on particle concentrations.

State volcanologists said the emission of sulfur dioxide – a toxic gas that could severely irritate the respiratory tract, eyes, mucous membranes, and skin – was last measured at an average of 332 tons per day on Wednesday.

Bacolcol said this was lower than the 573 tons per day measured in previous days.