Mayon Volcano
Overview
 
Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 in the province
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

 of Albay
Albay
Albay is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Legazpi City and the province borders Camarines Sur to the north and Sorsogon to the south. Also to the northeast is Lagonoy Gulf....

, on the island of Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. Renowned as the "perfect cone" because of its almost symmetric
Symmetry
Symmetry generally conveys two primary meanings. The first is an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; such that it reflects beauty or perfection...

 conical shape
Cone (geometry)
A cone is an n-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a base to a point called the apex or vertex. Formally, it is the solid figure formed by the locus of all straight line segments that join the apex to the base...

, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City
Legazpi City
The City of Legazpi is a first class city and capital of the province of Albay, Philippines. With 179,481 inhabitants according to the 2007 census, it is the largest city in the Bicol Region in terms of population, though not in land area...

, the largest city in terms of population in the Bicol Region
Bicol Region
The Bicol Region or Bicolandia is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines. Its regional center is Legazpi City...

. The mountain is a national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

 and a protected landscape in the country proclaimed as as Mayon Volcano Natural Park in the year 2000.

Local folklore refers to the volcano as Bulkang Magayon (Bikol
Bikol language
Central Bicolano , is one of the individual languages of the Bikol languages. It belongs to Coastal Bikol. It is spoken in Bicol Region of the Philippines .-Bikol-Naga:...

: 'Beautiful Volcano'), after the legendary heroine Daragang Magayon
Daragang Magayon
Daragang Magayon is the heroine that appears in the legend of Mt. Mayon in Albay, Philippines. Her name means "beautiful lady" .- Basic legend :...

 (Bikol
Bikol languages
The Bikol languages are a group of Central Philippine languages spoken particularly on the Bicol Peninsula on the island of Luzon and parts of Catanduanes and Burias Island, Masbate Province...

: 'Beautiful Lady').
Mayon Volcano is the main landmark of Albay Province
Albay
Albay is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Legazpi City and the province borders Camarines Sur to the north and Sorsogon to the south. Also to the northeast is Lagonoy Gulf....

, Philippines, rising 2462 metres (8,077.4 ft) from the shores of the Gulf of Albay
Albay Gulf
Albay Gulf is a large gulf in the southern part of Luzon island, Philippines, at .The place has been one of the tourist spots in the province because of the frequent sightings of whale sharks in the coastal areas...

 about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.
Encyclopedia
Mayon Volcano, also known as Mount Mayon, is an active volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 in the province
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

 of Albay
Albay
Albay is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Legazpi City and the province borders Camarines Sur to the north and Sorsogon to the south. Also to the northeast is Lagonoy Gulf....

, on the island of Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. Renowned as the "perfect cone" because of its almost symmetric
Symmetry
Symmetry generally conveys two primary meanings. The first is an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; such that it reflects beauty or perfection...

 conical shape
Cone (geometry)
A cone is an n-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a base to a point called the apex or vertex. Formally, it is the solid figure formed by the locus of all straight line segments that join the apex to the base...

, Mayon forms the northern boundary of Legazpi City
Legazpi City
The City of Legazpi is a first class city and capital of the province of Albay, Philippines. With 179,481 inhabitants according to the 2007 census, it is the largest city in the Bicol Region in terms of population, though not in land area...

, the largest city in terms of population in the Bicol Region
Bicol Region
The Bicol Region or Bicolandia is one of the 17 regions of the Philippines. Its regional center is Legazpi City...

. The mountain is a national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

 and a protected landscape in the country proclaimed as as Mayon Volcano Natural Park in the year 2000.

Local folklore refers to the volcano as Bulkang Magayon (Bikol
Bikol language
Central Bicolano , is one of the individual languages of the Bikol languages. It belongs to Coastal Bikol. It is spoken in Bicol Region of the Philippines .-Bikol-Naga:...

: 'Beautiful Volcano'), after the legendary heroine Daragang Magayon
Daragang Magayon
Daragang Magayon is the heroine that appears in the legend of Mt. Mayon in Albay, Philippines. Her name means "beautiful lady" .- Basic legend :...

 (Bikol
Bikol languages
The Bikol languages are a group of Central Philippine languages spoken particularly on the Bicol Peninsula on the island of Luzon and parts of Catanduanes and Burias Island, Masbate Province...

: 'Beautiful Lady').

Location

Mayon Volcano is the main landmark of Albay Province
Albay
Albay is a province of the Philippines located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. Its capital is Legazpi City and the province borders Camarines Sur to the north and Sorsogon to the south. Also to the northeast is Lagonoy Gulf....

, Philippines, rising 2462 metres (8,077.4 ft) from the shores of the Gulf of Albay
Albay Gulf
Albay Gulf is a large gulf in the southern part of Luzon island, Philippines, at .The place has been one of the tourist spots in the province because of the frequent sightings of whale sharks in the coastal areas...

 about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away. The volcano is geographically shared by the cities and municipalities of Legazpi City
Legazpi City
The City of Legazpi is a first class city and capital of the province of Albay, Philippines. With 179,481 inhabitants according to the 2007 census, it is the largest city in the Bicol Region in terms of population, though not in land area...

, Daraga
Daraga
Daraga may refer to:*Daraga, Albay, a municipality in the Philippines*USS Daraga , a United States Navy patrol boat in commission from 1917 to 1919*Daraga, Albay, Name originated from Dalaga - which means a single lady...

, Camalig
Camalig, Albay
Camalig is a first class municipality in the province of Albay, Philippines. At the time of the 2007 census, it had a population of 60,319 people in 11,275 households....

, Guinobatan, Ligao City
Ligao City
Ligao City is a 4th class city in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 101,179 people in 17,031 households. Ligao City is strategically located in the heart of the Third District of Albay...

, Tabaco City
Tabaco City
Tabaco City is a 4th class city in the province of Albay in the Philippines. It is one of the three component cities of the province. The mainland part of the city is bordered by the town of Malinao to the north, the towns of Polangui and Oas to the west, Ligao City to the southwest, Malilipot town...

, Malilipot
Malilipot, Albay
Malilipot is a 4th class municipality in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 33,593 people in 5,714 households.-Barangays:Malilipot is politically subdivided into 18 barangays...

, and Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, Albay
' is a 4th class municipality in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 Philippine census, it has a population of 30,711 people in 5,390 households.-Barangays:Santo Domingo is divided into 23 barangays.* Alimsog* Buhatan* Calayucay...

 (clockwise from Legazpi) which divide the cone like slices of a pie when viewed from above.

Geomorphology

Mayon is a classic stratovolcano
Stratovolcano
A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

 type of volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 capped by a small central summit crater
Volcanic crater
A volcanic crater is a circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity. It is typically a basin, circular in form within which occurs a vent from which magma erupts as gases, lava, and ejecta. A crater can be of large dimensions, and sometimes of great depth...

. The cone is considered to be the world's most perfectly-formed volcano for its symmetry, which was formed through layers of pyroclastic
Pyroclastic flow
A pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving current of superheated gas and rock , which reaches speeds moving away from a volcano of up to 700 km/h . The flows normally hug the ground and travel downhill, or spread laterally under gravity...

 and lava
Lava
Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

 methamphetamines erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

. The upper slopes of the basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

ic-andesitic
Andesite
Andesite is an extrusive igneous, volcanic rock, of intermediate composition, with aphanitic to porphyritic texture. In a general sense, it is the intermediate type between basalt and dacite. The mineral assemblage is typically dominated by plagioclase plus pyroxene and/or hornblende. Magnetite,...

 volcano are steep averaging 35-40 degrees.

Like other volcanoes located around Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, Mayon is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

. It is located on the eastern side of Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

, near the Philippine Trench
Philippine Trench
The Philippine Trench is a submarine trench to the east of the Philippines. It has a length of approximately 1,320 km and a width of about 30 km from the centre of the Philippine island of Luzon trending southeast to the northern Maluku island of Halmahera in Indonesia...

 which is the convergent boundary
Convergent boundary
In plate tectonics, a convergent boundary, also known as a destructive plate boundary , is an actively deforming region where two tectonic plates or fragments of lithosphere move toward one another and collide...

 where the Philippine Sea Plate is driven under the Philippine Mobile Belt
Philippine Mobile Belt
The Philippine Mobile Belt is a complex portion of the tectonic boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate, comprising most of the country of the Philippines. It includes two subduction zones, the Manila Trench to the west and the Philippine Trench to the east, as well as the...

. When a continental plate or belt of continental fragments meets an oceanic plate, the lighter continental material overrides the oceanic plate, forcing it down into the Earth's mantle. Magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 may be forced through weaknesses in the continental crust caused by the collision of the tectonic plates
Tectonic Plates
Tectonic Plates is a 1992 independent Canadian film directed by Peter Mettler. Mettler also wrote the screenplay based on the play by Robert Lepage. The film stars Marie Gignac, Céline Bonnier and Robert Lepage.-Plot summary:...

. One such exit point is Mayon.

Recorded eruptions

Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines
Active volcanoes in the Philippines
Active is commonly termed for volcanoes with historical eruptions. Moreover, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology classify active volcanoes in the country as having erupted within historical times , with accounts of these eruptions documented by man; or having erupted within the...

 having erupted over 49 times in the past 400 years. The first record of a major eruption was witnessed in February 1616 by Dutch explorer Joris van Spilbergen
Joris van Spilbergen
Joris van Spilbergen was a Dutch naval officer of the 17th century.His first major expedition was in 1596, when he sailed to Africa....

 who recorded it on his log in his circumnavigation
Circumnavigation
Circumnavigation – literally, "navigation of a circumference" – refers to travelling all the way around an island, a continent, or the entire planet Earth.- Global circumnavigation :...

 trip around the world.
The most destructive eruption of Mayon occurred on February 1, 1814. Lava flowed but not as much compared to the 1766 eruption. Instead, the volcano was belching dark ash and eventually bombarding the town with tephra
Tephra
200px|thumb|right|Tephra horizons in south-central [[Iceland]]. The thick and light coloured layer at center of the photo is [[rhyolitic]] tephra from [[Hekla]]....

 that buried the town of Cagsawa
Cagsawa Ruins
The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of an 18th century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church, built in 1724 and destroyed by the 1814 eruption of the Mayon Volcano...

. Trees were burned; rivers were certainly damaged. Proximate areas were also devastated by the eruption with ash accumulating to 9 m (29.5 ft) in depth. 2,200 Albay locals perished in what is considered to be the most lethal eruption in Mayon's history. The eruption is believed to have contributed to the accumulation of atmospheric ash, capped off by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Tambora
Mount Tambora
Mount Tambora is an active stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia. Sumbawa is flanked both to the north and south by oceanic crust, and Tambora was formed by the active subduction zone beneath it. This raised Mount Tambora as high as , making it...

 in 1815, that led to the Year Without a Summer
Year Without a Summer
The Year Without a Summer was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease by about 0.4–0.7 °C , resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere...

 in 1816.

Mayon Volcano's longest uninterrupted eruption occurred on June 23, 1897 which lasted for seven days of raining fire. Lava once again flowed down to civilization. Seven miles eastward, the village of Bacacay
Bacacay, Albay
Bacacay is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 61,574 people in 11,154 households.-Tourism:...

 was buried 15 m (49.2 ft) beneath the lava. In Libon
Libon, Albay
Libon is a 1st class municipality in the province of Albay, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 68,846 people in 12,572 households. Libon is known regionally as the "Rice Granary of Albay"....

 100 people were declared dead—incinerated by steam and falling debris or hot rocks. Other villages like San Roque, Misericordia and Santo Niño became deathtraps. Ash was carried in black clouds as far as 160 km (100 mi) from the catastrophic event, which killed more than 400 people.

Samuel Kneeland
Samuel Kneeland (naturalist)
Samuel Kneeland was a naturalist of the United States.-Biography:He graduated from Harvard in 1840, and got a medical degree there in 1843...

, a professor and a geologist had observed the volcanic activity five months before the eruption:


At night the scene was truly magnificent and unique. At the date of my visit the volcano had poured out...a stream of lava on the Legaspi side from the very summit. The viscid mass bubbled quietly but grandly, and overran the border of the crater, descending several hundred feet in a glowing wave, like red-hot iron. Gradually, fading as the upper surface cooled, it changed to a thousand sparkling rills among the crevices, and, as it passed beyond the line of complete vision behind the woods near the base, the fires twinkled like stars, or the scintillions of a dying conflagration. More than half of the mountain height was thus illuminated.

No casualties were recorded from the 1984 eruption after more than 73,000 people were evacuated from the danger zones as recommended by PHIVOLCS scientists. But in 1993, pyroclastic flow
Pyroclastic flow
A pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving current of superheated gas and rock , which reaches speeds moving away from a volcano of up to 700 km/h . The flows normally hug the ground and travel downhill, or spread laterally under gravity...

s killed 77 people, mainly farmers, during the eruption.

Its 48th and latest major eruption was a quiet effusion of lava on July 14, 2006, which was aggravated when a lahar
Lahar
A lahar is a type of mudflow or debris flow composed of a slurry of pyroclastic material, rocky debris, and water. The material flows down from a volcano, typically along a river valley. The term is a shortened version of "berlahar" which originated in the Javanese language of...

 caused by the rains of Typhoon Durian
Typhoon Durian
Typhoon Durian was an intense storm that wreaked havoc in the Philippines, causing massive loss of life when mudslides from the Mayon Volcano buried many villages...

 followed on November 30, 2006. A further summit eruption occurred on August 10, 2008. Starting in January 2011, the volcano is weakly erupting and may be building up to a larger hazardous eruption.

2006 eruption

Mayon erupted again from July to October 2006, with no apparent loss of life during the actual eruption period.
  • July 18, 2006: The number and size of incandescent rockfalls from the active lava dome
    Lava dome
    |250px|thumb|right|Image of the [[rhyolitic]] lava dome of [[Chaitén Volcano]] during its 2008–2009 eruption.In volcanology, a lava dome is a roughly circular mound-shaped protrusion resulting from the slow extrusion of viscous lava from a volcano...

    , as well as sulfur oxide
    Sulfur dioxide
    Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

     emissions, increased, according to the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), which warned that pyroclastic flows or an explosive eruption
    Explosive eruption
    An explosive eruption is a volcanic term to describe a violent, explosive type of eruption. Mount St. Helens in 1980 was an example. Such an eruption is driven by gas accumulating under great pressure. Driven by hot rising magma, it interacts with ground water until the pressure increases to the...

     could occur any time.

  • August 7, 2006: The Philippine government ordered the evacuation of about 20,000 people living near the volcano, stating that an eruption was feared soon. Volcanologists have detected 21 low-frequency volcanic earthquake
    Volcano tectonic earthquake
    A volcano tectonic earthquake is an earthquake induced by the movement of magma. The movement results in pressure changes in the rock around where the magma has experienced stress. At some point, the rock may break or move...

    s since early Sunday morning.

  • August 8, 2006: The government expected to move some 34,276 people to 31 state-run shelters and warned that the mountain could explode at any time.


  • August 9, 2006: Volcanologists warned that Mount Mayon could explode at any time but that the gravitational pull of a full moon
    Full moon
    Full moon lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. More precisely, a full moon occurs when the geocentric apparent longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180 degrees; the Moon is then in opposition with the Sun.Lunar eclipses can only occur at...

     could provide the final push. A full moon coincided with at least three of Mayon’s nearly 50 explosions over the last four centuries, including the two most recent in 2000 and 2001. Nearly 40,000 people have been moved from an 8 km (5 mi) danger zone on the southeast flank of the volcano, which has been quaking and spitting plumes of ash since July.

  • August 10, 2006: Scientists in the Philippines renewed warnings of a major explosion at the Mount Mayon volcano, describing a sudden period of quiet as "ominous". A drop in gas emissions
    Volcanic gas
    |250px|thumb|right|Image of the [[rhyolitic]] [[lava dome]] of [[Chaitén Volcano]] during its 2008-2010 eruption.Volcanic gases include a variety of substances given off by active volcanoes...

     and earthquakes sparked fears that the crater
    Volcanic crater
    A volcanic crater is a circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity. It is typically a basin, circular in form within which occurs a vent from which magma erupts as gases, lava, and ejecta. A crater can be of large dimensions, and sometimes of great depth...

     had plugged itself, increasing the likelihood of an explosive eruption.

  • August 11, 2006: Scientists said ground surveys showed Mayon was still "swollen" and registered a high number of volcanic earthquakes, emitted large amounts of sulfur dioxide
    Sulfur dioxide
    Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

     gas and continued to eject lava
    Lava
    Lava refers both to molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption and the resulting rock after solidification and cooling. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava is a liquid at...

     down its slope nearly four weeks after it came to life in a "quiet" eruption on July 14.

Phivolcs maintained threat level at Alert Level 4 for the next month because of the continued extrusion of lava, ash explosions, steam and smoke plumes, seismic activity, and threat of further eruption.
  • September 11, 2006 Phivolcs downgraded threat level to Alert Level 3. "After the ash explosion of September 1, a general decline in the overall activity of Mayon has been established. The decrease in key parameters such as seismicity, gas (Sulfur Dioxide) emission rates and ground inflation all indicate a waning condition. The slowdown in the eruptive activity is also evident from the decrease in intensity of crater glow and the diminishing volume of lava being extruded from the summit".

  • October 3, 2006 Phivolcs downgraded threat level to Alert Level 2. "All monitored key parameters such as earthquake levels, ground deformation and gas outputs further declined. In addition, lava extrusion apparently ceased on October 1, 2006 as reported by Ligñon Hill Observatory. The above observations indicate the absence of an intruding new mass of magma."

  • October 25, 2006 Phivolcs downgraded threat level to Alert Level 1 (no hazardous eruption imminent).


Phivolcs did not issue any further alerts or updates for Mayon in November or December 2006.

Aftermath

On November 30, 2006, Typhoon Durian caused mudslides of volcanic ash
Volcanic ash
Volcanic ash consists of small tephra, which are bits of pulverized rock and glass created by volcanic eruptions, less than in diameter. There are three mechanisms of volcanic ash formation: gas release under decompression causing magmatic eruptions; thermal contraction from chilling on contact...

 and boulders from the slopes of Mayon Volcano, killing an estimated 1,000 and covering a large portion of the village of Padang (an outer suburb of Legazpi City
Legazpi City
The City of Legazpi is a first class city and capital of the province of Albay, Philippines. With 179,481 inhabitants according to the 2007 census, it is the largest city in the Bicol Region in terms of population, though not in land area...

) in mud up to the houses' roofs.

The number of dead was at least 1,266 people, about half the death toll of the 1814 eruption. The precise figure may never be known since many people were buried under the lahar
Lahar
A lahar is a type of mudflow or debris flow composed of a slurry of pyroclastic material, rocky debris, and water. The material flows down from a volcano, typically along a river valley. The term is a shortened version of "berlahar" which originated in the Javanese language of...

s, and entire villages disappeared. A similar post-eruption event happened in Cagsawa in 1825 where 1,500 people were killed.

Parts of Daraga
Daraga
Daraga may refer to:*Daraga, Albay, a municipality in the Philippines*USS Daraga , a United States Navy patrol boat in commission from 1917 to 1919*Daraga, Albay, Name originated from Dalaga - which means a single lady...

 were also devastated, including the Cagsawa area, where the ruins from the eruption of 1814 were partially buried once again. Large areas of Guinobatan were destroyed, particularly Maipon.

Students from Aquinas University
Aquinas University
Aquinas University of Legazpi is a school in Legazpi City, Philippines run and owned by the Dominican fathers. It was founded by Don Buenaventura de Erquiaga in 1948 as Legazpi Junior Colleges; the name subsequently changed to Legazpi College, and it became a university in 1968.-Foundation:Legazpi...

 in Barangay Rawis of Legazpi City were among those killed as mudslides engulfed their dormitory. Central Legazpi escaped the mudslide but suffered from severe flooding and power cuts.

2008 eruption

On August 10, 2008, a summit explosion ejected ash 200 metres above the summit, with the ash drifting east northeast. In the weeks prior to the eruption, there was a visible glow within the crater and increased seismicity.

2009-2010 eruption

On 10 July 2009, PHIVOLCS raised the status from Alert Level 1 (low level unrest) to Alert Level 2 (moderate unrest) because the number of recorded low frequency volcanic earthquakes rose to the same level when a phreatic explosion occurred last August 2008.

At 5:32 am Wednesday 28 October 2009, a minor ash explosion lasting for about one minute occurred in the summit crater. A brown ash column rose about 600 meters above the crater and drifted toward the northeast. In the prior 24 hours, 13 volcanic earthquakes were recorded. Steam emission was at moderate level, creeping downslope toward the southwest. Phivolcs maintained the Alert Status at Level 2, but later warned that with the approach of tropical cyclone international codename Mirinae the danger of lahars and possible crater wall collapse will greatly increase and all specified precautions should be taken.

At 1:58 am Wednesday 11 November 2009, a minor ash explosion occurred at the summit crater lasting for about three minutes. This was recorded by the seismic network as an explosion type earthquake with rumbling sounds. Incandescent rock fragments at the upper slope were observed in nearby barangays. Ash column was not observed because of cloud cover. After dawn, field investigation showed ashfall had drifted southwest of the volcano. In the 24 hour period, the seismic network recorded 20 volcanic earthquakes. Alert Status was kept at Level 2 indicating the current state of unrest could lead to more ash explosion or eventually to hazardous magmatic eruption.
At 8pm on Monday 14 December 2009, as a result of 83 volcanic quakes in the preceding 24 hours and increased sulphur dioxide emissions, Phivolcs raised the Alert status to Level 3.

Early in the morning of Tuesday 15 December 2009, a moderate ash explosion occurred at the summit crater and "quiet extrusion of lava" resulted in flows down to about 500 metres from the summit of Mayon. By Tuesday night Albay Province authorities were reported to have moved about 20,000 residents out of the eight kilometre danger zone and into local evacuation centres. About 50,000 people were said to live within the eight kilometre zone.

On 17 December 2009, there were five ash ejections with one reaching 500 metres above the summit, sulphur dioxide emission increased to 2,758 tonnes per 24 hours, lava flows reached down to 1500 metres below the summit, and incandescent fragments from the lava pile continuously rolling down Bonga Gully reached a distance of 3 to 4 km below the summit. By midday 17 December, a total of 33,833 people from 7,103 families had been evacuated, 72 percent of the total number of people that needed to be evacuated, Albay Governor Joey Salceda was reported to have said.

On December 20, 2009, PHIVOLCS raised Mayon's status level to alert level 4 because of an increasing lava flow in the southern portion of the volcano and an increase in sulphur dioxide emission to 750 tonnes per day. As well, almost 460 earthquakes in the volcano were monitored everyday. In the border of danger zone, rumbling sounds like thunder were also heard. Over 9,000 families (44,394 people) were evacuated by the Philippine government from the base of the volcano. No civilian was permitted within the 8 kilometre danger zone, which has been cordoned off by the Philippine military, who were actively patrolling within the danger zone to enforce the "no-go" rule and to ensure no damage or loss of property of those evacuated.
Alert level 4 was maintained as the volcano remained restive through the month of December, prompting affected residents to spend Christmas and the New Year in evacuation centers. On December 25, sulfur dioxide emissions peaked at 8,993 tons per day. On December 28, PHIVOLCS director Renato Solidum commented on the status of the volcano, "You might think it is taking a break but the volcano is still swelling." On the next day December 29, a civil aviation warning for the airspace near the summit was included in the volcano bulletins. The ejected volcanic material since the start of the eruption was estimated to have been between 20 million to 23 million cubic meters of rocks and volcanic debris, compared to 50 million to 60 million cubic meters in past eruptions.

On January 2, 2010, PHIVOLCS lowered the alert level of the volcano from level 4 to level 3, citing decreasing activity observed in the past four days. The state agency noted the following observations as a trend of decreasing activity: absence of ash ejections and relative weakness of steam emissions, majority of earthquakes caused by rockfalls and rolling fragments, and gradual decrease in sulfur dioxide emissions from a maximum of 8,993 tons per day to 2,621 tons per day. 7,218 families within the seven-kilometer to eight-kilometer danger zones were allowed to return to their homes, while 2,728 families who live in the four-kilometer to six-kilometer danger zones would have to stay in the evacuation centers pending the PHIVOLCS decision to further lower the alert level.

On January 13, 2010, PHIVOLCS reduced the alert level from 3 to 2, saying that this indicated a further reduction in the likelihood of hazardous eruption.

Government response

Albay governor Joey Salceda declared the disaster zone an 'open city' area to encourage aid from external groups. Potential donors of relief goods were not required to secure clearance from the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, but were able to directly coordinate with support groups at the local government level.

The restiveness of the volcano also stimulated the tourism industry of the province. Up to 2,400 tourists per day have arrived in the area since the volcano started erupting on December 14, filling local hotels, compared to about a more modest average of 200 in the days prior. However it was reported that some tourists lured by local "guides" might be ignoring government warnings not to venture into the eight-kilometer danger zone. "It's a big problem. I think the first violation of the zero casualty (record) will be a dead tourist," said Salceda.

Speaking about thrill-seekers finding their way in to the area, Salceda warned, "At the moment of the eruption, the local guides will have better chance of getting out. The hapless tourist will be left behind."

International response

Following the declaration of alert level 3 for the volcano, the United States issued an advisory cautioning its nationals from traveling to Mayon. Canada and the United Kingdom also posted advisories discouraging their nationals from visiting the volcano.

The United States government has committed $100,000 in financial aid for the evacuees of Mayon Volcano. In cooperation with the Philippine government the assistance will be delivered through the Philippine National Red Cross
Philippine National Red Cross
Born officially in 1947, Philippine Red Cross , a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, has roots that trace back to the revolutionary days...

 and other NGOs by USAID
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

.

The Albay provincial government has ordered the local military to add more checkpoints, place roadblocks and arrest tourists caught traveling inside the eight-kilometer danger zone.

Power and water supply were cut off within the danger zone to further discourage residents from returning. The Commission on Human Rights
Commission on Human Rights (Philippines)
The Commission on Human Rights is an independent office created by the Constitution of the Philippines, with the primary function of investigating all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights in the Philippines....

 has allowed the use of emergency measures and has given the authorities clearance to forcibly evacuate residents who refuse to leave.

When the alert level around the volcano was lowered from alert level 4 to alert level 3 on January 2, 2010, the Albay provincial government ordered a decampment of some 47,000 displaced residents from the evacuation centers. Power and water supply in the danger zones were restored. Military vehicles were used to transport the evacuees back to their homes, while food supplies and temporary employment through the Department of Social Welfare and Development
Department of Social Welfare and Development (Philippines)
The Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development is the executive department of the Philippine Government responsible for the protection of the social welfare rights of Filipinos and to promote social development.-History:...

 (DSWD) were provided to the heads of each family.
As of January 3, 2010, the National Disaster Coordinating Council reported the overall cost of humanitarian aid and other assistance provided by the government and non-government organizations (NGOs) has reached over 61 million pesos since the start of the eruption.

The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 World Food Programme
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children...

 (UN-WFP) has delivered 20 tons of high energy biscuits
High Energy Biscuits
High Energy Biscuits are wheat biscuits containing high-protein cereals and vegetable fat. Because of their high energy-to-weight ratio they are procured by the World Food Programme, the food aid branch of the United Nations, for feeding disaster victims worldwide.HEBs have been provided to a...

 to the evacuees to complement supplies provided by the DSWD, with more to be allocated from emergency food stocks intended for relief from the effects
Effects of the 2009 Pacific typhoon season in the Philippines
The effects of the 2009 Pacific typhoon season in the Philippines were considered some of the worst in decades. Throughout the year, series of typhoons impacted the country, with the worst damage occurring during September and October from Typhoons Ketsana and Parma.-Seasonal...

 of the 2009 Pacific typhoon season. When the alert level was downgraded to level 3 on January 2, 2010, UN-WFP provided three days worth of food for evacuees returning to their homes who will continue to receive supplies already set aside for them.

Monitoring

Mayon Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines, and its activity is regularly monitored by PHIVOLCS from their provincial headquarters on Ligñon Hill, about 10 kilometers away from the summit.

Three telemetric units are installed on Mayon's slopes, which send information to the seven seismometer
Seismometer
Seismometers are instruments that measure motions of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic sources...

s in different locations around the volcano. These instruments relay data to the Ligñon Hill observatory and the PHIVOLCS central headquarters on the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.

PHIVOLCS also deploys electronic distance meters (EDMs), precise leveling benchmarks, and portable fly spectrometers to monitor the volcano's daily activity.

See also



External links

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