By Mar S. Arguelles and Rey M. Nasol
LEGAZPI CITY, June 5 (PNA) — An official of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Wednesday that volcanologists are gathering scientific data to validate reports that springs surrounding Mayon volcano are drying up despite claiming these are signs that the volcano’s abnormalities have intensified.
The official said they have already conducted drilling operations since Monday in Barangay Budiao and Salvacion in Daraga, eight kilometers from the crater of Mayon. It is as part of the continuous monitoring of the abnormalities of the volcano which are vital in the array of parameters to consider whether to further raise the alert level or maintain it under level 1, which was raised last weekend after crater glows were already observed during night time.
Laguerta said they were investigating this report as “we have to establish a scientific basis whether the drying up of springs is either weather related or caused by the volcano’s abnormal behavior.”
One explanation for the drying up of springs and eventual decrease in water table of water sources may be due to the bulging or inflation in the volcano edifice brought by magmatic or steam buildup.
Laguerta observed that the drying up of a water source would depend on magmatic activity as the magma, which is still deep inside the volcano’s vent, would slow down the flow of the water level while if the magma is near the ground level it loosens the water level to its regular volume.
The same drying up of wells was also observed by farmers in other areas such as Guinobatan and Camalig towns but their officials have yet to confirm and await Phivolcs’ advice on the matter.
Laguerta said Mayon volcano continues to show signs of restiveness as exhibited by moderate emission of white steam plumes, faint crater glow and bulging edifice in the volcano’s northeast flank in Barangay Buang, Tabaco City, and the southeast portion in Barangay Lidong, Sto Domingo town.
The 6-km permanent danger zone (PDZ) remains off-limits to the public due to possible sudden rock falls, landslides, avalanches, ash puffs and steam- driven or phreatic eruption from the summit.(PNA)
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