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Report on Kanlaon (Philippines) — April 2016


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 41, no. 4 (April 2016)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke. Research and preparation by Paul Berger.

Kanlaon (Philippines) Sporadic ash explosions during November-December 2015 and March 2016

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Kanlaon (Philippines) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 41:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN201604-272020



10.4096°N, 123.13°E; summit elev. 2422 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), after an ash explosion at Kanlaon on 23 July 2006 and a series of earthquakes the day after (BGVN 32:02), activity subsided. Only non-eruptive activity was reported between the 2006 explosion and 24 November 2015, when ash emission began following strong seismicity and steam explosions the day before; intermittent ash emissions continued through 30 December. Activity resumed briefly with explosions and ash plumes during 29-31 March 2016.

Reports during 2008-2010. During 26 July-2 November 2006, no ash explosions occurred, and both steam emissions and seismicity were low, prompting PHIVOLCS to lower the Alert Level from 1 to 0 (out of 5).

PHIVOLCS reported that during 7-10 February 2008, the seismic network detected a significant rise in earthquakes, prompting them to raise the Alert Level from 0 to 1 on 10 February. Cloud cover prohibited visual observations of the summit. According to a news account (Sun Star News), seismic activity returned to background levels during 5 March-25 April (0-3 earthquakes/day), persuading PHIVOLCS to lower the Alert Level to 0 on 25 April 2008.

During 23 August-1 September 2009 the PHIVOLCS seismic network detected a significant rise in the number of earthquakes. A few of the earthquakes were felt as far away as Bago City, 30 km NW. The epicenters clustered on the NW flank.

Based on a pilot observation, the Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) reported that on 15 May 2010 an ash plume rose to an altitude of 2.4 km and drifted W. Ash was not identified in satellite imagery. PHIVOLCS later confirmed that the plume originated from a fire and not an eruption. No further reports were issue by PHIVOLCS until November 2015.

Activity during November-December 2015. At 0930 on 23 November 2015 the seismic network detected an explosion-type signal, culminating with an 8-minute-long steam explosion. Observers reported that a white plume rose 1-1.5 km above the crater and drifted SW, and rumbling was heard in local areas. Only four volcanic earthquakes had been recorded during the previous week, but after the explosion, the network detected volcanic tremor that lasted for five hours. The Alert Level was raised to 1. Continuous steam emissions with minor ash content were observed the next morning. During 24-25 November, the seismic network detected 11 volcanic earthquakes; on 25 November, gas-and-ash emissions rose 150 m above the crater and drifted SW.

According to PHIVOLCS, two volcanic earthquakes accompanied by a one-minute, low-energy, gray ash emission occurred at 0513 on 11 December 2015. Observers also noted ash emissions at 0951, 1008, 1140, and 0101 on 13 December that rose 200-300 m and drifted SW. The emissions were not detected by the seismic network, indicating a shallow source. Trace amounts of ashfall were reported in nearby communities on the W and SW flanks. At 2138 on 15 December a low-frequency earthquake lasted 45-47 seconds. Inclement weather prevented visual observations of the crater. Rumbling was heard in neighborhoods on the SE flank. On 17 December white steam plumes rose 50 m above the crater. Poor weather conditions prevented further views of the crater through 22 December.

PHIVOLCS reported that at 1457 on 23 December 2015, the seismic network detected an explosion. The event was not visually observed due to dense weather clouds around the summit area, but rumbling was heard in nearby barangays (villages) including Cabagnaan, La Castellana (16 km SW), and Ara-al and Yubo, La Carlota City (14 km W). Minor amounts of ash fell in Ara-al, Haguimit, and La Granja, La Carlota City, and a sulfur odor was noted in barangay Tres Elis, La Castellana. Another explosive event was detected at 2109 on 24 December, but was again not visually observed. Trace amounts of ash fell in Ara-al, Haguimit, and La Granja, and a sulfur odor was reported in Tres Elis. On 26 December, white steam plumes rose 100 m above the crater and drifted SW. A five-minute long ash event that began at 1329 on 27 December was accompanied by rumbling heard in a few local barangays. An eruption plume, viewed from the SE flank, rose 1 km above the crater, and may have risen as high as 4.5 km based on pilot observations. Minor ashfall was noted in nearby communities as far as 58 km WNW. About 1230 on 30 December, a low-energy explosion produced an ash plume that rose 100 m above the crater and slowly drifted SW.

Activity during March-April 2016. According to PHIVOLCS, at 1820 on 29 March 2016, the seismic network detected a 12-minute explosion that was accompanied by a booming sound heard in nearby communities. Observers to the SE reported an ash plume that rose 1.5 km above the crater, and minor amounts of ash fell in areas downwind. Incandescent ejecta caused a small fire on the upper flank. A 25-second-long explosion was detected at 1918. On 30 March at 0130, a long-duration tremor began that was accompanied by gas-and-steam plumes that rose 600-700 m and drifted SW and SSW. On 31 March 2016, minor ashfall was reported in areas downwind, including in parts of La Carlota City (14 km W), La Castellana, and Bago City in Negros Occidental. The tremor continued during 2-4 April, though the energy decreased, and steam plumes rose 400-500 m. On 5 April steam plumes rose 800 m and drifted SW. The Alert Level remained at 1.

According to a 30 March 2016 news account (The Manila Times), PHIVOLCS said that GPS monitoring had detected slight inflation between December 2015 and 14 March 2016

Geological Summary. Kanlaon volcano (also spelled Canlaon) forms the highest point on the Philippine island of Negros. The massive andesitic stratovolcano is covered with fissure-controlled pyroclastic cones and craters, many of which are filled by lakes. The largest debris avalanche known in the Philippines traveled 33 km SW from Kanlaon. The summit contains a 2-km-wide, elongated northern caldera with a crater lake and a smaller but higher active vent, Lugud crater, to the south. Eruptions recorded since 1866 have typically consisted of phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor local ashfall.

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/); Tokyo Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC), Tokyo, Japan (URL: http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/svd/vaac/data/); Sun Star News (URL: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/); The Manila Times (URL: http://www.manilatimes.net/).