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Report on Mayon (Philippines) — March 2006

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 31, no. 3 (March 2006)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Mayon (Philippines) Eruptions resume in February 2006 after a 2-year hiatus

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Mayon (Philippines). In: Wunderman, R. (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 31:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200603-273030.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Mayon

Philippines

13.257°N, 123.685°E; summit elev. 2462 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Since the previous report in December 2004 (BGVN 29:12) Mayon had remained quiet until 21 February 2006. On that day the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported that a minor explosion at 0941 produced an ash plume that rose ~ 500 m above the volcano's crater and drifted SW. Ash was deposited on the upper slopes of the volcano. The ash emission was accompanied by a small explosion-type earthquake, recorded only by seismographs around the volcano.

Prior to the explosion PHIVOLCS had seen an increase in seismicity at the volcano. Between 1545 on 20 February and 0520 on 21 February, there were 147 low-frequency earthquakes recorded, a number considerably above the five or fewer events per day normally detected. Seismicity also indicated some minor rockfalls, which probably resulted from lava blocks detaching from the summit. Steaming was observed. No incandescence was visible at the crater due to clouds obscuring the volcano.

PHIVOLCS reported that about nine earthquakes related to explosive activity took place at Mayon around 23 February. Cloudy conditions prevented visual observations, but the seismic events detected probably signified minor ash explosions. This was supported by reports from local residents who heard rumbling. The seismic network also recorded two low-frequency earthquakes associated with shallow magma movement. The SO2 flux averaged 1,740 metric tons per day (t/d), similar to values obtained during the last measurements on 28 November 2005. The flux was well above the usual 500 t/d measured at the volcano. Mayon remained at Alert Level 2, with a 6-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone in effect. At this point the possibility of more violent eruptions triggered warnings to tourists and the public in general to remain outside of the danger zone.

Geologic Background. Beautifully symmetrical Mayon, which rises above the Albay Gulf NW of Legazpi City, is the Philippines' most active volcano. The structurally simple edifice has steep upper slopes averaging 35-40 degrees that are capped by a small summit crater. Historical eruptions date back to 1616 and range from Strombolian to basaltic Plinian, with cyclical activity beginning with basaltic eruptions, followed by longer term andesitic lava flows. Eruptions occur predominately from the central conduit and have also produced lava flows that travel far down the flanks. Pyroclastic flows and mudflows have commonly swept down many of the approximately 40 ravines that radiate from the summit and have often devastated populated lowland areas. A violent eruption in 1814 killed more than 1,200 people and devastated several towns.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, PHIVOLCS Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Univ. of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/).