THE majestic Mount Mayon, famous for its near-perfect cone shape, has erupted, forcing airlines to cancel dozens of domestic and international flights Tuesday.
In an 8am advisory, the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Mayon Volcano spewed lava 500 to 700 meters high from the crater between 9:37 pm Monday and 5:25 am Tuesday.
“It generated ash plumes that reached 2.5km to 3km above the crater,” it said. At noon Monday, Phivolcs recorded a 5km-tall eruption column as the volcano erupted for about eight minutes.
Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said Alert Level 4 was raised over Mount Mayon, which is located in the Albay province, Bicol region in the main island of Luzon, some 340km southeast of Manila. Such an alert level means an explosive explosion is “possible within days.”
The highest is Alert Level 5. The volcano started acting more than a week ago, prompting more than 20,000 residents to flee to safer ground. Authorities established an 8km-radius danger zone around the volcano.
“The public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the danger zone, and to be additionally vigilant against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden streamflows along channels draining the edifice,” Phivolcs said.
Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash from any sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft, it added.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines ordered Monday the temporary shutdown of the Legaspi airport that serves the Bicol region due to the lava, ash and smoke spewed by the volcano.
Albay province was put under a state of calamity due to the volcano’s eruption, with relief and emergency teams deployed in response.
Local officials said many tourists, mostly domestic and those travelling by land, have been coming to the area to watch the volcano’s explosion.
Visitors and residents have been urged to wear face masks to avoid respiratory illnesses due to the volcanic ash.
No stranded tourists have been reported so far, and all roads leading to and out of Albay province remained accessible to vehicles.
This article originally appeared on our sister website Travel Wire Asia.