Phivolcs eyes lowering Mayon alert level

Cet Dematera - The Philippine Star

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — Mayon Volcano’s alert level may be lowered if pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) continue to decline, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Mayon has been under Alert Level 3 since June 8.

Paul Alanis, Phivolcs resident volcanologist at the Lignon Hill Observatory in this city, said PDCs were observed to be decreasing in the past week.

Phivolcs data showed that 32 PDCs were recorded from Sept. 14 to 21 or an average of 3.2 events per day.

“We are watching this decline in PDCs as a parameter in lowering Mayon’s alert status. Let’s see if this decline will continue in the coming days,” Alanis told The STAR.

However, he said the high number of rockfall events and fluctuations in sulfur dioxide emissions indicate that fresh magma is still ascending to the surface of the volcano.

Five volcanic earthquakes, 139 rockfall events and sulphur dioxide emissions of 1,507 tons per day were monitored in the past 24 hours.

Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office chief, said more than 5,000 families in 25 evacuation centers across Albay would be sent home if Mayon’s alert is lowered to Level 2.

Daep said camp leaders were informed of the possible decampment of Mayon evacuees once the alert level is downgraded.

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