Jorge Hallare


Mayon Volcano taken at Travesia, Guinobatan, Albay. Photo by Dárlán Páléncìá Bárcélón

Mayon Volcano taken at Travesia, Guinobatan, Albay. Photo by Dárlán Páléncìá Bárcélón

Legazpi City, [03.31.17] – A group of scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and Earth Observatory of Singapore, along with civil defense officials, did an aerial survey over Mount Mayon on Friday morning to gather real time data on steam emission, the resident  volcanologist of Phivolcs-Legazpi, said.

According to Ed Laguerta the team organized an observation directly from the summit of the volcano and  recorded the volcano’s activity.

The team composed of five chemists led by Dr. Regan Rebadoria, collected steam emissions data near the volcano’s summit.

Laguerta said the group will compare the real-time data with the recorded data gathered through its remote monitoring instruments installed by Phivolcs in its two observatory stations located in Barangay Masarawag, Guinobatan and in Malilipot, Albay.

According to Laguerta, they sometimes encounters difficulty in gathering sulfur dioxide emissions because of unfavorable weather condition that tends to provide inaccurate data.

“This is why we gather plumes from the summit itself (when the weather is fine),” he said.

Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta.

Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta.

Laguerta added the volume of gas gathered from the volcano is very important for a “complete” record of the observed parameters of Mayon’s activity – that is why a real time monitoring is needed to obtain picture of what is inside the lava dome.

Phivolcs – Legazpi need to get the data on the volume of remaining volcanic debris inside the dome from the 2014 phreatic explosions.

“The power inside the volcano is determined  by the depth of magma underneath that also causes the swelling or inflation of the the volcano,” he said.

He also added that the data they had gathered during their “precise leveling” at Mount Mayon in January has showed a “slight inflation” that was added to the “inflation recorded” during the explosion of Mayon years ago.

“Even if physically Mayon is quiet we do not really know what is happening underneath her,” said Laguerta.

At present, studies and observations are significant as they are wary of the ensuing danger should there be a sudden phreatic explosion, the slightest explosion is already extremely dangerous, especially at the volcano’s rim.

He explained that even if the surface of the lava dome is hardened, there is steaming liquid underneath that could pose a lot of danger if sudden phreatic explosions occur.

When this happens “the 45 degree slope of the mountain could trigger an avalanche of pyroclastic materials,” He was referring to the cloud of ash and lava fragments carried through air and vapor during volcanic eruptions.

Geologists from Phivolcs-Manila again plan to conduct a “precise leveling” around Mayon volcano on the first week of the second quarter of this year to get the latest inflation and the result of the sulfur dioxide emissions gathered during the aerial survey today, Laguerta explained.

The result will be presented it to the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, [APSEMO] that is in charge of the provincial disaster risk reduction and mitigation program efforts in the province.