More ash explosions seen

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded an ash explosion in Mayon Volcano early Wednesday, which caused ash fall in Albay towns located southwest and northwest of the volcano.

"The explosion, which occurred at around 1:58 a.m., is a clear sign of magma intrusion toward the summit crater of the volcano," said Alex Baloloy, Phivolcs science research analyst.

The explosion, which lasted for about three minutes, was accompanied by rumbling sounds. Residents in the towns of Camalig, Guinobatan, Polangui, Oas, and Ligao City reported experiencing the ash fall.

Baloloy said, however, that the height of the ash column was not recorded because clouds covered the view of the volcano and it was still dark when the explosion happened.

He added that because of the prevailing northeast monsoon, the ash fall drifted toward the southwest and northwest towns of the volcano.

Another ash emission was recorded at around 7:02 a.m. with ashes as high as 300 meters from the crater drifting in the same direction of the first ash explosion early morning.

Mayon Volcano remains at Alert Level 2, meaning a state of increasing unrest of magmatic origin which may eventually lead to eruption.

"The volcano has exhibited already two ash explosions since early morning today and it is possible that more explosions and even slight to stronger explosions could occur anytime. That is why we are closely monitoring the volcano," Baloloy said.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda immediately alerted the disaster officials through the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office to reiterate the strict observance of the six-kilometer permanent danger zones around the volcano; and the seven-kilometer extended danger zone in the southeast quadrant of the volcano.

The 2,462-meter-tall volcano 300 kilometers southeast of Manila first spewed ash this year in three successive events last September 15.

Another smaller single ash explosion was also recorded by the Phivolcs last October 28 and the latest early Wednesday morning which is already characterized by ash fall.

The volcano, said to be the most active in the country, has erupted at least 50 times since 1616. Its worst eruption buried Cagsawa town and killed 1,200 people in 1814. An eruption in 1993 killed more than 70 farmers.

Mayon erupted again in 2006.