Active Philippine volcano emits steam as pressure builds up

2014-09-22 16:31
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Manila - An active volcano in the eastern Philippines emitted steam plumes on Monday as scientists warned that pressure was building up inside the crater.

Mayon Volcano in Albay province, 330km south-east of Manila, quieted down on the weekend with fewer volcanic earthquakes and rock falls, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

But it said the steaming has been monitored since Sunday, and could indicate that pressure was building up inside the country's most active volcano as magma moves up.

More than 50 000 people have been evacuated from an expanded 8km danger zone around Mayon since last week, after warnings that the volcano could erupt soon.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda said authorities were also moving nearly 20,000 farm animals to ensure that residents do not have to return to their homes.

Most violent eruption

"We cannot take chances that might compromise the safety of our residents," he said.

The 2 472-metre volcano is famous for its nearly symmetrical cone, which attracts thousands of foreign and local tourists every year.

Local authorities have restricted trekking and ATV tours at the volcano amid the threat of an eruption, which was expected to draw visitors.

They have identified six safe viewing areas for tourists to witness the fiery display.

In past eruptions, flights to the nearest city of Legazpi were cancelled because Mayon usually ejects ash high into the air.

Mayon has erupted about 50 times since 1616. It’s most violent eruption was in 1814 when more than 1,200 people were killed and a town was buried in volcanic mud.

In May 2013, sudden explosions from the crater killed four foreign tourists and a Filipino guide. An eruption in 1993 killed 79 people.

Read more on:    philippines  |  volcanos

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