By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
After volcanologists recorded over 244 volcanic quakes since June of this year, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert status over Mt. Kanlaon yesterday morning.
Based on a statement released by Phivolcs, increased seismic activity may be followed by hazardous steam-driven, or phreatic, eruptions at the summit crater, despite the absence of visible degassing, or steaming, from the active vent this year.
Ground deformation data also indicates the structure of the volcano has remained inflated since December of 2015.
“These parameters indicate that volcanic processes are underway deep beneath the edifice that may be caused by deep-seated degassing, or hydrothermal activity,” Phivolcs said.
According to Phivolcs, an Alert Level 1 signals a “slight increase in volcanic earthquake and steam/gas activity,” illustrated by “notable increase in the temperature, acidity, and volcanic gas concentrations of monitored springs.”
Phivolcs recommends the public keep a four-kilometer radius outside the permanent danger zone (PDZ), where “sudden and hazardous steam-driven or minor ash eruptions” are possible.
Phivolcs has also coordinated with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), advising pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as sudden phreatic eruptions can be hazardous to aircraft.
The agency added, they are closely monitoring the volcano for any new development and will inform the public of any concerning events./WDJ