Published: Saturday 27 January, 2018

Phivolcs Issues Mayon Volcano Lahar Warning as Rain Falls on Eruption Debris

As Mayon Volcano continues its unrest, a new danger looms as the weather worsens – lahar! As rains fall on Mayon’s ash, lava and other pyroclastic material on the volcano’s slopes, these can turn into mudflow and lahar ‘on all river channels’.

Mayon volcano lahar warning

Photo of Mayon Volcano lahar taken on September 14, 1984, five days after an eruption. (Ernesto Corpuz/Phivolcs)

Most of Luzon, icluding the Bicol region, is experiencing light to heavy rains due to the tail end of a cold front and this has increased the danger for those living near Mayon Volcano. As we have seen in past eruptions in Albay, and likewise in Pinatubo, the rain can turn Mayon’s eruption debris into lahar which can be unstoppable. 

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“Heavy rains over the Province of Albay brought about by the tail-end of a cold front have increased the dangers of syn-eruption lahars on major channels draining the Mayon Volcano edifice that have been deposited with thick pyroclastic density current or PDC material and ashfall,” said the agency’s bulletin issued Saturday morning.

“These deposits can be remobilized by rainwater and generate lahars by themselves and or by incorporating existing erodible material on channel banks.”

“PHIVOLCS therefore warns of potential lahars and sediment-laden streamflows on all river channels draining the slopes of Mayon Volcano especially the Buyuan, Miisi, Mabinit, Basud, San Vicente, Buang, Quirangay and Masarawag-Maninila that may be generated by heavy rainfalls brought about by the cold-front,” it continued.

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Residents living near such danger zones are advised to be extra vigilant as the rains fall, and move to higher ground it if the need arises.

According to the latest advisory from PAGASA, it will be rainy in parts of Luzon, Bicol region included, all week.

“Alert Level 4 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano and DOST-PHIVOLCS maintains its close monitoring of Mayon Volcano and any new development will be communicated to all concerned stakeholders,” Phivolcs added.