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Report on Bulusan (Philippines) — August 2017


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 42, no. 8 (August 2017)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke. Research and preparation by Paul Berger.

Bulusan (Philippines) Weak phreatic explosions on 2 March and 5 June 2017

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Bulusan (Philippines) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 42:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN201708-273010



12.769°N, 124.056°E; summit elev. 1535 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Activity at Bulusan typically has included phreatic explosions from the summit crater and flank vents, ash-and-steam plumes, and minor ashfall in nearby villages (BGVN 41:03, 42:02). The danger zone was expanded in October 2016 when a fissure extended 2 km down the upper S flank that was the source of multiple phreatic explosions (figure 10, and see BGVN 42:02). During the first eight months of 2017, eruptive activity included similar episodes on 2 March and 5 June. Information was provided by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Throughout the reporting period of 1 January-8 September 2017 the Alert Level remained at 1, indicating a low level of volcanic unrest and a 4-km-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ).

Figure (see Caption) Figure 10. A phreatic ash explosion from the SE vent at Bulusan on 17 October 2016 lasted 24 minutes. White steam plumes can be seen rising from other vents. Photo by Drew Zuñiga and provided by 2D Albay, as published in The Philippine Star (18 October 2016).

According to PHIVOLCS, a weak phreatic eruption occurred at 1357 on 2 March 2017. The event was recorded by the seismic network as an explosion-type earthquake followed by short-duration tremor that lasted approximately 26 minutes. Visual observations were obscured by weather clouds, although a small steam plume rising from the SE vent was recorded by a webcam.

On 5 June 2017 another weak phreatic eruption was recorded at 1029 by the seismic network for 12 minutes. The eruption again could not be visually observed due to dense weather clouds covering the summit. Minor ashfall, a sulfuric odor, and a rumbling sound were reported in the barangays (neighborhoods) of Monbon and Cogon, while sulfuric odor was noted in the barangay of Bolos. These three neighborhoods are within the municipality of Irosin, about 8 km SSW of the volcano.

According to a news account (Manila Bulletin), precise leveling data obtained during 29 January to 3 February 2017 indicated deflationary changes since October 2016. PHIVOLCS reported that precise leveling data obtained during 14-23 June 2017 indicated inflation since February 2017. According to PHIVOLCS, continuous GPS measurements have indicated an inflationary trend since July 2016.

Sulfur dioxide emissions on 31 July and 20 August, reported by PHIVOLCS, averaged 82 tonnes/day, which according to a news account (Manila Bulletin) was the same as measured on 29 April 2017. The seismic monitoring network recorded three volcanic earthquakes on 7-8 September. Weak steam plumes from the active vents rose to 50 meters and drifted SW.

Geological Summary. Luzon's southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 36,000 years ago. It lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon. A broad, flat moat is located below the topographically prominent SW rim of Irosin caldera; the NE rim is buried by the andesitic complex. Bulusan is flanked by several other large intracaldera lava domes and cones, including the prominent Mount Jormajan lava dome on the SW flank and Sharp Peak to the NE. The summit is unvegetated and contains a 300-m-wide, 50-m-deep crater. Three small craters are located on the SE flank. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded since the mid-19th century.

Information Contacts: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines (URL: http://www.phivolcs.dost.gov.ph/); Manila Bulletin (URL: http://mb.com.ph/); Philippine Star (URL: http://www.philstar.com/).