Threat of deadly Mayon pyroclastic flows looms

MANILA — There is an increasing risk for deadly pyroclastic flows in Mayon Volcano which continues demonstrating unrest.

People must avoid entering Mayon’s 6.0-km radius permanent danger zone and 1.0 km extended danger zone since pyroclastic flows – which consist of hot gas, rocks and other volcanic deposits – may occur there in forthcoming days amid the volcano’s rising unrest, said Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) volcanologist Paul Alanis.

“No one can escape pyroclastic flows,” he warned. He said the avalanche of materials Mayon will spew can move along the volcano’s slopes at the rate of about 100 kph, making it impossible for people to outrun the fast-moving pyroclastic flows.

Alanis said Phivolcs on Sunday night (Jan. 14) raised Mayon Volcano’s alert level from 2 to 3 due to relatively high unrest there. Magma or hot, molten rock already commenced flowing out of Mayon, he noted.

“Mayon is demonstrating increased tendency towards hazardous eruption,” he said. If Phivolcs raises Mayon’s alert level from 3 to 4, this means hazardous eruption is already imminent there.