Mt. Mayon sends column of lava fragments, ash and steam high into the sky Monday
A volcano in the Philippines could erupt violently within hours, say authorities there, who have expanded the safety zone around the crater of Mt. Mayon to five miles.
The new warning came after a thunderous explosion Monday that send a huge gray column of lava fragments, ash and steam 10 kilometers into the sky, according to the Philippines Inquirer.
The noontime explosion sent superheated lava, molten rocks and steam cascading down Mount Mayon’s slopes and shrouded nearby villages in darkness, said Renato Solidum, chief of the Philippine Institute of Seismology and Volcanology (Phivolcs), and other officials. In a bulletin issued at 1 p.m., Phivolcs raised the alert level to 4 on a scale of 5, which means an explosive eruption is possible within hours or days.
“If the eruption is vertical, it’s possible pyroclastic flows or pyroclastic density currents may cascade down in all directions,” Solidum told a news conference, warning villagers and tourists not to venture into the no-go zones and airplanes to stay safely away from the crater and ash-laden winds.
More than 27,000 villagers have fled the area since the 8,070-foot volcano started acting up more than a week ago, said the Inquirer. The volcano is in coconut-growing Albay province, about 210 miles southeast of Manila.