Phivolcs: Bulusan Volcano Remains Restive Despite Lull
MANILA – The government is reminding people to continue staying away from Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon despite the apparent lull in steam-driven explosions there, warning the volcano continues being in a state of unrest.

“People must refrain from entering Bulusan’s permanent…

MANILA – The government is reminding people to continue staying away from Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon despite the apparent lull in steam-driven explosions there, warning the volcano continues being in a state of unrest.


“People must refrain from entering Bulusan’s permanent danger zone (PDZ) and approaching the volcano as we can still expect sudden explosive extrusion of ash and steam there anytime,” said vulcanologist Winchelle Sevilla from state-run Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

He warned that upcoming explosions can even be more intense than the events that Phivolcs monitored earlier this month.

According to Phivolcs, potentially intense hydrothermal processes may already be underway beneath Bulusan’s crater, thus possibly leading to more steam-driven explosions there.

Steam-driven, or phreatic explosions, are eruptions that occur when water beneath the ground or on the surface is heated by magma, lava, hot rocks or new volcanic deposits and drive volcanic material outward through geological fissures or the crater itself.

Bulusan’s volcanic hazards include pyroclastic flows, lava flows, lahar and ash fall, Phivolcs said.

Phivolcs lists Bulusan as among the country’s active volcanoes.

Active volcanoes are those that erupted within historical times which cover the last 600 years.

The agency added Bulusan has had 16 to 17 historical eruptions already with the last one occurring from Nov. 6, 2010 to May 13, 2011.

The government has set for Bulusan a PDZ covering a radius of four kilometers from that volcano’s summit to help protect people from such hazards.

For further protection, government also designated a probable danger zone spanning four kilometers to 10 kilometers from Bulusan’s summit.

In its 8 a.m. bulletin released Thursday (May 14), Phivolcs reported recording six volcanic earthquakes during the agency’s 24-hour observation period.

Phivolcs also reported the occurrence of four and five volcanic earthquakes in Bulusan, respectively, during the previous two days.

Sevilla said the number of volcanic earthquakes in Bulusan this week represents a “significant rise” from the one to two tremors Phivolcs usually monitors there during the volcano’s normal times.

Since Bulusan is on Alert Level One status, Phivolcs reiterated people must avoid entering this volcano’s PDZ, and pilots must avoid flying their planes close to Bulusan’s summit as phreatic eruptions can be hazardous, Phivolcs added.

People living within valleys and along river/stream channels should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahar in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall, the Phivolcs bulletin said.

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