Mounts Bulusan, Kanlaon exhibit signs of phreatic volcanic activities

Mt. Kanlaon (PNA file photo)

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has cautioned residents living near Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon and Mt. Kanlaon in Negros to be alert and prepared because the two active volcanoes are showing signs of “phreatic or steam-driven explosions.”

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. said in a virtual public briefing they have monitored a “tornillo type volcanic earthquake” event around Kanlaon in the past several days.

“It is screw-shape (tornillo) and it gives us a sense of concern because when we see it, there is a phreatic or steam-driven explosion, and the volcano is still swollen and we need to prepare for that,” Solidum said.

The Phivolcs Director, however, noted that the recent activity of Mt. Kanlaon is not related to rising magma but to possible steam-driven explosions.

“Like Mt. Kanlaon, we see that Bulusan Volcano could also have a steam-driven explosion and it is important to be careful,” he stressed, adding, however, that the volcanic activities of Kanlaon and Bulusan are not yet alarming, but reminded the residents in their areas to be ready and refrain from going close to their 4-kilometer permanent danger zones.

Soidum said Phivolcs has retained Alert Level 1 (abnormal) status for both  Kanlaon and Bulusan. He also urged the public to download and use Philvolc’s mobile application, HazardHunterPH, to map out any hazards in the country.

The application is used to generate assessment reports on the user’s location, featuring a summary of seismic, volcanic, and hydro-meteorological hazards, along with explanations and recommendations.