Kanlaon quakes surge to 1,007

THE Mount Kanlaon in Negros Island continues to be restive as it recorded 1,007 volcanic earthquakes over the past 24 hours as of Thursday, December 14.

This came a day after it recorded 578 volcanic earthquakes.

Mount Kanlaon remained on Alert Level 2, which means the volcano is undergoing a moderate level of unrest.

Paul Alanis, science research specialist of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) central office, said Thursday that Kanlaon’s volcanic activities are not normal which is why it’s still on Alert Level 2.

“Volcanic activities are expected because of its abnormal status,” Alanis said.

He said the magma intrusion “may or may not lead to eruption.”

“It can go both ways. It could stop or it could escalate,” he added.

Alanis said the community has to be vigilant.

“As long as you’re not in the four-kilometer permanent danger zone, there’s nothing to worry about,” he added.

Phivolcs said Thursday the active volcano emitted moderate white steam-laden plumes that rose up to 300 meters, which drifted southwest.

Sulfur dioxide emission was measured at an average of 687 tonnes per day on December 13, the agency said.

Ground deformation data from continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements indicate slight inflation of the edifice since December 2015.

Phivolcs raised the alert status of the volcano from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2 on November 15 after it recorded 279 volcanic earthquakes then.

READ: Alert Level 2 raised over Mt. Kanlaon

Mount Kanlaon, which straddles the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, is the highest point in the Visayas at 2,465 meters (8,087 feet) above sea level.

The active volcano spewed ash last December 10, a day after a low-energy phreatic, or steam-driven, eruption occurred in the active volcano.

Phivolcs reminded the local government units and the public that entry into the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone is strictly prohibited due to the further possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions while civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.

Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division, said there’s a close monitoring on Mount Kanlaon’s activities.

They also have close coordination with the Office of Civil Defense in Western Visayas, he added.

He said there’s massive information and education campaign among the communities who will be directly affected should there be a major eruption. These include the cities of La Carlota, Bago, and San Carlos and La Castellana town.

Residents were taught on what to do during volcanic eruption and ash fall; and what they should include in their emergency go-bags.

Caelian earlier identified the "most probable areas" in the province that will be affected by the volcanic eruption.

These are the cities of San Carlos, Bago, and La Carlota and the towns of Murcia, La Castellana, Moises Padilla and Salvador Benedicto, which are under the four-kilometer danger zone.

But if based on the pathway of lahar, localities that will be affected include the cities of San Carlos, Bago, La Carlota and Himamaylan and the towns of Pontevedra, Pulupandan, San Enrique, Valladolid, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, La Castellana, Moises Padilla and Isabela, he said.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. had called on the Negrenses to remain on alert and to continue to pray.
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