Increased Seismic Activity Raises Alert Level for Bulusan Volcano – Phivolcs

AFP PHOTO / FRANCIS MALASIG
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The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has issued a warning regarding the Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon province. The institute has stated that if the volcano’s parameters continue to rise, it is likely that the alert status will be raised to Level 2. This news comes as the volcano has experienced an increase in seismic activity in recent days.

Phivolcs Director Teresito “Toto” Bacolcol, in a conversation with The Manila Times via Viber, confirmed that a notice was issued on Tuesday night due to the heightened seismic activity. The institute is closely monitoring the situation to determine if the volcano’s parameters will continue to increase. As of December 29, 2023, a total of 116 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded by the Bulusan Volcano Network (BVN).

Out of the recorded earthquakes, 110 were volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes associated with rock fracturing beneath the southern flanks at depths of two to six kilometers. The remaining six were low-frequency volcanic earthquakes (LFVQ) associated with the movement of volcanic fluids. Ground deformation data has also indicated an inflation or swelling of the southwestern and southeastern slopes.

While degassing activity from the summit crater and active vents has been relatively weak to moderate when the volcano’s summit is visible, Bacolcol warns that increased seismic activity and pressurization of the volcano edifice may indicate hydrothermal processes occurring beneath the volcano. These processes could potentially lead to steam-driven eruptions at any of the summit vents.

Phivolcs emphasizes that the current alert level for Bulusan Volcano is still at Level 1, indicating a low level of unrest with an increased chance of steam-driven or phreatic eruptions. As a precautionary measure, entry into the four-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited. Additionally, vigilance must be exercised in the two-kilometer Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeast sector due to the possibilities of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruptions.

It is essential for the public to remain informed and follow the guidelines set by Phivolcs to ensure their safety. The institute will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as necessary. In the event of any significant changes or developments, it is crucial to stay tuned to official announcements and heed any evacuation orders or advisories issued by local authorities.

Volcanic activity can be unpredictable, and it is vital to prioritize the well-being of individuals and communities in the vicinity of Bulusan Volcano. By staying informed and prepared, everyone can contribute to a safer and more resilient response to any potential volcanic events.

Source: The Manila Times

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