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Phivolcs mulls lowering Mayon alert level

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The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is considering lowering the alert level of Mayon volcano from 4 to 3 in the next few weeks if the volcano’s lower level of activity will continue.

Ed Laguerta, Phivolcs resident volcanologist in Bicol, said Monday that Mayon showed lower abnormal activity in the last 24 hours but thorough observation is still being done by scientists as there is no conclusive proof yet that the volcano’s restiveness is on a weakening stage.

He said Alert Level 4 is still up over Mayon and so is the 8-km extended danger buffer zone.

Laguerta is not discounting the possibility that Mayon may still produce an explosive hazardous eruption similar to the 1984 scenario where the volcano showed off a lull for one week before a strong and explosive explosion took place.

“We are closely studying the sudden change and decrease of S02 (Sulfur Dioxide gas emission) of Mayon which was decreased to 1,583 tons per day from the more than 3,000 tons of SO2 emission two days ago,” Laguerta said in a press briefing here today, February 5.

According to him, there was a significant deflation by 1 millimeter somewhere in Sto. Domingo area but inflation on the other side continues.

“But bear in mind that the seemingly downward trend of volcanic activity is not an assurance that the Mayon will no longer erupt. We’re not discounting the possibility of explosive eruption because the volcano is still restive,” Laguerta said.

Alert Level 4 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano and the public is strongly advised not to venture into the 8-kilometer-radius danger zone, and to be vigilant against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden stream flows along channels draining the edifice. (Philippine News Agency)