Mayon Volcano is once more spewing fresh lava; rekindling fears of an impending eruption, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) confirmed on Sunday.
Of late, the volcano seemed to quiet down from its activity last month which prompted local government units to evacuate approximately 63,000 people living within a a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) danger zone surrounding Mayon.
However, a fresh cascade of lava – this time stretching further down Mayon’s slopes, compared with last month’s lava trail – has once more raised alert levels and renewed concerns of an imminent eruption.
“The first activity started on September 15 and lasted for a few days. After that, there was a lull or no summit activity, but this morning, our volcanologists spotted a lava flow,” Renato Solidum, head of the Philvolcs, told reporters from told ABS-CBN.
“What is happening now is that there is very slow movement… of lava flow about 350 metres (1,148 feet) in length from the summit,” he added, cautioning that this is usually followed by “an explosive phase of eruption.”
Solidum detailed that the slow movement of magma to the volcano’s peak could accelerate at some point; causing quakes, small blasts, and possibly an eruption on a much larger scale.
Mayon is the Philippines’ most active volcano, with a history of violent eruptions through the years. Alert “level 3” was initially raised by the Philvolcs, which means that an eruption could take place in weeks, but – with the renewed flow of lava – Alejandro said they were weighing whether to raise it to “level 4”, which means possible eruption in a matter of days or hours.
Meanwhile, Bernardo Alejandro, head of civil defence operations in the Mayon area, said that local authorities will enforce even stricter measures disallowing the entry of people into areas falling within the volcano’s danger zone.