PHIVOLCS issues lahar advisory for Bulusan Volcano
Marje Pelayo • January 21, 2019 • 2045
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) advised residents in pre-determined zones of lahar hazards in Bulusan Volcano to exercise vigilance and readiness against possible lahar flows following heavy rainfall forecast in the area due to the onset of Tropical Depression ‘Amang’.
Citing the weather agency PAGASA’s 24-hour regional forecast over Bicol Region, PHIVOLCS’ advisory posted on its website expressed concern that the Sorsogon province might be affected by possible flash flooding and landslides if heavy rainfall prevails.
“Prolonged and heavy rainfall may cause excessive erosion of existing pyroclastic deposits in the upper slopes of Bulusan Volcano, which can trigger lahars in rivers draining southeaster, southwestern and northwestern flanks,” the advisory read.
The advisory noted that potential lahars can threaten downstream communities along Malunoy (Patag); Mapaso; Cadac-an; Tinampo and Cogon Rivers in Irosin and the Añog-Rangas River in Juban.
PHIVOLCS stressed that entry into the four kilometer-radius Permanent danger zone should be avoided due to the possibility of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruption, rockfall, landslide and lahars. — Marje Pelayo
The volcanic activity in Taal continues to wane, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
However, it is still not enough basis to lower the alert level in the region.
Phivolcs’ findings show that the amount of sulfur oxide or ashes emitted by Taal Volcano decreased from 4,000 tonnes per day to 153 tonnes. There is also a decrease in the frequency of volcanic earthquakes.
“Itong mga earthquakes na ito ay unti-unti na silang nag-diminish pati iyong mga low frequency events pero hindi ibig sabihin ay kampante na tayo (These earthquakes are slowly diminishing, even the low-frequency events. But this does not mean we can be lax about it),” according to Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) Chief Ma. Antonia Bornas.
The agency said the decreased emission can mean the ashes are blocked by the hardened magma in the volcano’s crater. This could also mean a high activity of magma inside the volcano which can prompt a huge eruption at any time.
If the waning of volcanic activity continues in the succeeding days, Phivolcs said they might lower the alert in the Taal region to level 3.
“Ibababa po naman po natin ang alert level after masiguro po natin ang probabilities for an eruption ay mababa na (We will lower the alert level after we assure that all probabilities of eruption are low),” Bornas added.
However, residents are still not allowed to return to their homes even if alert level 3 has been announced by Phivolcs.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines – Intense volcanic activities are still being recorded around Taal Volcano while it continues to spew white ash.
According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), these are signs that the volcano is still an element of danger.
Ground shaking has become frequent as PHIVOLCS recorded more than 700 tremors on Sunday (January 19) alone.
Fissures are also becoming more and more visible in different areas, which PHIVOLCS explained, are signs of rising magma.
“Baka lang kasi akala ng mga tao humuhupa lang, pero sa indikasyon na dumadami ang gas, diyan natin pinapakita maliban sa lindol at iyong pamamaga ng bulkan na mayroong laman doon sa ilalim (People might think it is calming down but increasing gas emission, aside from tremors and the swelling of the volcano ground are indications that something is underneath),” PHIVOLCS OIC Renato Solidum explained.
“Baka iyon ang maging dahilan ng mga biglaang pagsabog kasi open system na iyong volcano (Those might cause the eruption because the volcano is already an open system),” he added.
Also, Taal Volcano is still producing kilometers tall ash pillars and a high level of sulfur dioxide, about 1,000 tons per day, similar to the amount that Mayon Volcano produced before its major eruption in the past.
PHIVOLCS noted that said amount can mean danger.
“Mataas po iyan. Kung naaalala ninyo po sa Mayon, iyong ganiyang values ay pumuputok ang bulkan (That’s high. If you remember, Mayon showed similar values when it erupted),” noted PHIVOLCS Chief of Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) Ma. Antonia Bornas.
“So, may nagde-degas na shallow magma. So, anytime, kapag mababaw ang magma, maaari po itong pumutok na wala po tayong masyadong paunang babala (That means shallow magma is degassing. So when magma becomes shallow, it might erupt without prior warning),” he added.
State weather agency PAGASA explained that areas in the western or southern section of the volcano might be affected by heavy ashfall should Taal Volcano produce ash pillars of about three kilometers tall.
Also, based on the agency’s wind forecast, volcanic ash might reach several areas in Cavite should the volcano produce ash column higher than three kilometers.
However, should a major explosion occur and the volcano emitted ash pillar higher than five kilometers, the ash fall might affect Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal and parts of Northern Quezon.
Solidum confirmed that the strongest ground shaking recorded so far was felt in Mabini, Batangas, a magnitude 4.6 earthquake at around 8:59 p.m. on Sunday (January 19).
Solidum said the tremor was caused by the movement of the fault.
He said the fault last moved in April 2017 and it was again activated due to the eruption of the Taal volcano.
PHIVOLCS reiterates its call to residents to stay away from the 14-kilometer danger zone while they are still observing the state of Taal Volcano.
Should volcanic activities wane within two weeks, PHIVOLCS said they might decide to downgrade the alert level over Taal volcano island. MNP (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)
A lawmaker has urged the House of Representatives to investigate the government’s alleged delayed warning on the Taal eruption.
Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said there were “no news bulletins or SMS alerts” from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and other government agencies about the heightened activity in Taal Volcano.
“Due to lack of information, in the afternoon of the same day, while Taal Volcano is already manifesting increased volcanic activity, people still traveled towards it, while those who were already near Taal Volcano were shocked to see the smoke spewing from it and had to immediately flee under the dangers of ashfall,” he said.
Barzaga filed House Resolution (HR) No. 643 on Monday (January 13) and was released to the media on Tuesday (January 14).
However, Phivolcs reiterated there was no delay in the warning on the Taal eruption
During a press conference, Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief, Mariton Bornas said, “Those on the island were already relaying to us their observations.”
“They were given advice in case they needed to evacuate,” she added.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said “there are 6,000 people on the island. Nobody was injured, no one died.”
“It’s amazing. We should thank God nothing happened,” he said.
Malacañang said it is within the powers of Congress if they will approve the resolution or not.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte previously said he is pleased with the performance of government agencies including the performance of Phivolcs Officer-in-Charge and Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum.
“I am really very pleased, very happy that all agencies are here on hand and trying their best to help the community,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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