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‘Abnormal’ Kanlaon emits steam plumes

Kanlaon volcano remains at alert level 1, and entry into the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone is strictly prohibited* Gilbert Bayoran photo

A voluminous emission of white steam-laden plumes that rose one kilometer was observed in Kanlaon Volcano in Negros Island for the past 24 hours, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported yesterday.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. said the volcanic event just shows that the volcano is at abnormal level or alert level 1.

“Voluminous describes the amount of steam coming out of the crater. But the alert level of the volcano is not only based on steaming. There are multiple parameters, such as earthquakes, ground deformation, gas,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

Sulfur dioxide emission, on the other hand, was measured at an average of 1,030 tonnes/day on May 23.

“It’s not very high. The amount is above the normal level of around 300 tonnes/day,” Solidum said.

Phivolcs also recorded six volcanic earthquakes in Kanlaon for the past 24 hours. Volcanic quakes are caused by movements or eruptions of magma from the volcano, compared to tectonic quakes which are caused by fault movements.

Those parameters may indicate hydrothermal, tectonic, or even deep-seated magmatic processes occurring beneath the edifice.

Entry into the four-kilometer radius permanent danger zone must be strictly prohibited due to the possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions. Phivolcs added that civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit, as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft.*

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