Bulusan active again, may erupt anew

Michael Punongbayan, Cet Dematera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology  has warned of another possible phreatic eruption of Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon, citing increased seismic activity.

From only five volcanic earthquakes the other day, the Bulusan volcano network recorded 45, including two low-frequency quakes, on Thursday night.

Phivolcs said 149 earthquakes were recorded until yesterday.

“Most of these were weak and shallow events, but may indicate that a phreatic eruption could possibly occur within the next few hours,” the agency said in an advisory issued yesterday.

Bulusan also emitted 824 tons of sulfur dioxide and spewed plumes that rose 100 meters in the past 24 hours.

April Dominguiano, Bulusan resident volcanologist, said they are evaluating the data sent by the volcano network.

“Yes, another phreatic eruption could take place any time as shown by the sustained increase in its seismicity,” she said.

Phivolcs reminded the public that Bulusan remains under Alert Level 1, which means that it is in an abnormal condition.

It advised the public against entry into the four-kilometer-radius permanent danger zone and that vigilance in the two-kilometer extended danger zone in the southeast sector must be exercised due to the increased possibility of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruptions.

Civil aviation authorities should advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft, Phivolcs added.

“People living within valleys and along river and stream channels especially in the southeast, southwest and northwest sector of the edifice should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahars in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall should phreatic eruption occur,” Phivolcs said.

Mount Bulusan’s 17-minute phreatic eruption last Sunday forced dozens of families to evacuate their homes.


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