Mount Kanlaon remains on Alert Level 1 after eruption
NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – Mount Kanlaon remained on Alert Level 1 status after its eruption early Tuesday night, March 29.
This means that Mount Kanlaon, which has been on Alert Level 1 since November 23, 2015, is "in an abnormal condition and in a period of current unrest," according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Phivolcs also reiterated its call to the public to stay out of the 4-kilometer permanent danger zone due to "possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions," and urged local governments to strictly enforce this.
It urged civil aviation authorities to issue the proper advisory so that pilots would not fly close to the volcano’s summit, citing the possibility of a sudden eruption.
Police Superintendent Frankie Lugo, Canlaon City Police chief, said there was no need to evacuate of residents at the moment, but task groups – a component of the Mount Kanlaon contingency plan – had been activated for security, evacuation, and medical response.
Lugo said authorities have augmented the security forces of the city. “The police and the army are support units, in case there is a need for (additional) manpower and if there are looters during the evacuation,” he said.
Ash fall, no lava flow
Phivolcs said the ash eruption from the crater lasted for about 12 minutes, which produced a 1.5-kilometer high ash column.
The eruption was accompanied by a “booming sound” heard in Barangays Ara-al and Yubo in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, and in Barangay Pula, Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.
Phivolcs said traces of light ashfall were reported in Sitio Guintubdan, Barangay Ara-al in La Carlota City.
Phivolcs analyst Ben Tanatan said there was no lava flow. He explained that the "lightning flashes" seen at the time of the eruption were "the result of the friction of emitted rocks and pre-existing volcanic materials" caused by pressure.
Tanatan also said that the ejected hot rocks from the crater didn’t set a bush fire at the southwest portion of the volcano, which is already part of Barangay Biak na Bato in La Castellana, Negros Occidental.
“It was man-made. It’s possible that there were illegal mountaineers who set the grass on fire. It was mistaken as lava flow but it was not connected (with the eruption) and it was just a coincidence," he said.
Tanatan was referring to the massive fire at Mount Kanlaon on Friday, which affected about 120 hectares of grass land.
Kanlaon last erupted on December 27, 2015, sending ash to some parts of the neighboring province of Negros Occidental. – Rappler.com