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Mayon Volcano Update: Phreatic Eruptions, Lava Fountaining Cause Earthquakes, Prompt Evacuations

UPDTAE: 4 a.m. EST — The Philippine Red Cross shared a video of another eruption of Mayon volcano that took place at 5:50 p.m. local time (4:50 a.m. EST). It shows more lava fountaining from the main vent, and smoke spewing out from vents on the mountain’s sides.

Original story:

Mayon Volcano in Albay province of the Philippines continued erupting through Monday night and Tuesday morning, local time, prompting regional authorities to expand the danger zone around the deadly volcano. Following a massive phreatic eruption of an almost 10-kilometer tall ash column Monday, the threat assessment for Mayon was raised from Level 3 to Level 4 on a scale of 5.

At Level 4, which means a hazardous eruption could take place within days, the danger zone is extended to a minimum of 8 kilometers, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s (PHIVLOCS) alert levels for Mayon. But the province has expanded the danger zone to 9 kilometers, according to local reports. Since the threat level was increased Monday, thousands of people living in the region were evacuated, in addition to the thousands who had already moved.

Mayon Volcano Update: Phreatic Eruptions, Lava Fountaining Cause Earthquakes, Prompt Evacuations Lava spews from the Mayon volcano as it continues to erupt, seen from Legazpi City in Albay province, south of Manila early on Jan. 23, 2018. Photo: Charism Sayat/AFP/Getty Images

On its Facebook page, PHIVLOCS shared videos of lava fountaining and pyroclastic flow from the volcano Monday night, saying the lava reached 500 to 700 meters above the crater rim, and produced an ash plume that was 4 kilometers high. Another video showed an ash column, several kilometers high, at 8:54 a.m. local time Tuesday (7:54 p.m. EST Monday).

In an update bulletin Tuesday morning, PHIVLOCS said lava flows had extended up to 4 kilometers from the summit vent, and that earthquakes had been recorded as well.

“A total of two (2) explosion-type earthquakes corresponding to the vertical column eruptions, fifteen (15) tremor events, some corresponding to lava fountaining episodes, thirty five (35) rockfall events and (2) pyroclastic density currents or PDCs from lava collapse were recorded by Mayon’s seismic monitoring network,” it said.

With volcanic ash falling heavily in many areas, visibility dropped to near zero in places, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines announced the closure of Legazpi and Naga airports. Albay Governor Al Francis C. Bichara suspended classes for all levels in all schools, as well as all office work, both public and private, except for emergency services. He also shared some photographs of lava flowing down the mountain’s slope Monday night.

Mayon is among the most active volcanoes in the world, and the most active in the Philippines, which is home to a large number of volcanoes. The country is a part of the Ring of Fire, a large area in the Pacific Ocean prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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