No, it’s not a scene from an upcoming sci-fi blockbuster, it’s Mount Mayon in the Philippines which has been erupting for almost two weeks. It may look spectacular, but the eruptions have covered surrounding communities in a blanket of grey ash and continues to sporadically eject lava up to 1.8 miles from its crater.
Situated in the north-eastern Albany provinces, Mount Mayon has erupted 50 times in the past 500, gaining its status as the most active volcano in the Philippines. If this continues, it will begin to create a logistical nightmare for local communities whose livelihoods depend on the surrounding farmland.
Up to now, 74,000 people have been evacuated from the eight kilometer danger zone that surrounds the volcano. Along with these people, livestock is also being evacuated in the hopes of protecting their livelihood.
The Philippine Institution of Volcanology and Seismology has stated that sulphur dioxide gas emissions have been measured at an average of 1,916 tons a day and that GPS measurements show that there has been sustained swelling and inflation under the volcano since October.
Mount Mayon lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire region which covers Japan, Indonesia and California. This areas is home to 90% of the world’s volcanos meaning that volcanic activity is common in the 25,000 mile perimeter but in the past few weeks the region has been particularly active. So much so that the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reductions has reported a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Alaska and a 5.3 magnitude earthquake in Jakarta, Indonesia. However, neither of these are comparable to the impressive (albeit dangerous) displays seen from Mount Mayon.
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