By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) head Zeaphard Caelian yesterday said the number of volcanic quakes at Mt. Kanlaon jumped to 578 within a 24-hour period.
According to Caelian, the sudden increase of volcanic quakes was concerning and they immediately coordinated with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), in which volcanologists said the quakes were normal “hydrologic activity,” which refers to the movement and distribution of water.
Caelian said volcanologists noted steaming at the volcano’s crater.
He added, with expected rains from Tropical Depression Urduja, the steaming activity would further increase due to rain water coming into contact with the volcano’s heated rocks.
Caelian also said they submitted a strategic action plan to the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), which includes plans for evacuating residents living near the volcano.
In addition, the OCD suggested conducting drills in areas that would likely be affected by the volcano and to prepare them for the possibility of upgrading the alert level status to ‘Alert Level 3.’
Over the weekend, a phreatic eruption was recorded, following weeks of unrest.
Records taken by Phivolcs stated the ash cloud in last Saturday’s eruption reached a height of three kilometers, or 10,000 feet, from the volcano’s summit.
Local government units surrounding the volcano were warned not to allow the public to enter the four-kilometer permanent danger zone.
They also released a memo to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) advising pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit.
Mt. Kanlaon was placed under ‘Alert Level 2’ status last month after Phivolcs recorded a total of 250 volcanic earthquakes in a 24-hour period./DGB, WDJ