By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) yesterday confirmed a reduction in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions at Mt. Kanlaon.
PDRRMO head Zeaphard Caelian said, based on their monitoring, SO2 levels have dropped by almost 1,000 tons per day, compared to the previous weeks.
He said volcanologists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), between May 13 and May 14, recorded SO2 levels at 1,597 tons per day.
SO2 is typically released when magma is near the surface. According to the United States Geological Survey, if SO2 is detected at a non-erupting volcano, “it could be a sign that it will erupt soon.”
In addition, SO2 in the atmosphere can contribute to respiratory problems.
Despite the development, Caelian said approaching the four-kilometer permanent danger zone is still dangerous as steam-driven, or phreatic eruptions, are still possible.
Volcanologists at the various Phivolcs observatories surrounding Mt. Kanlaon also spotted white steam plumes rising 500 meters from the summit and drifting southwest.
The number of volcanic quakes has also been consistent, with three recorded within a 24-hour period.
The volcano has been under an “Alert Level 2” since last November due to ground deformations caused by magma underneath the volcano./DGB, WDJ