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Phivolcs: Kanlaon spewing more sulfur dioxide

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) yesterday reported an elevated volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emission from the summit crater of Kanlaon Volcano after it averaged 4,397 tons per day.

Last Saturday’s emission was the highest this year and the second highest land-based measurement for Kanlaon, according to state volcanologists.

“The volcano has been degassing increased concentrations of volcanic SO2 this year at an average rate of 1,458 tons per day, but emission since the June 3, 2024 eruption has been particularly elevated at a current average of 3,347 tons per day,” Phivolcs said.

It added that volcanic earthquake has persisted at an average of 33 events per day since the eruption. Phivolcs noted that medium-term inflation of the Kanlaon edifice has been recorded since March 2022 and a shorter-term inflation of the eastern flank since last year, indicating slow pressurization within the volcano.

“The overall monitoring parameters indicate that degassing of magma may be driving current unrest, causing increased volcanic gas emission, swelling of the edifice and occasional volcanic earthquake activity,” the state agency said.

Phivolcs reminded the public that Alert Level 2 prevails over Kanlaon.

“This means that there is current unrest driven by shallow magmatic processes that could eventually lead to explosive eruptions at the summit crater.

The public is strongly advised to be vigilant and avoid the four kilometer-radius permanent danger zone to minimize risks from volcanic hazards such as pyroclastic density currents, ballistic projectiles, rockfall and others,” the agency added.

Phivolcs advised the public that in case of ashfall events that may affect communities downwind of Kanlaon’s crater, people should cover their nose and mouth with a damp, clean cloth or dust mask.

“Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ash and ballistic fragments from sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft. Communities living beside river systems on the southern and western slopes, especially those that have already experienced lahars and muddy streamflows,