Philippines' Mayon Volcano shows increased activity; experts warn of rising magma

The second volcano in the Philippines that's in danger of erupting has shown signs of increased activity

Volcanologists have reported seeing increased activity coming from Mayon Volcano in the Philippines. Over the past couple of days, the crater of the volcano has been glowing.

In addition to Taal Volcano, Mayon is another volcano, agencies in the Philippines are closely monitoring due to the threat of a violent eruption. With almost 50 eruptions in the last 500 years, Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines.

Mayon's Increased Volcanic Activity

 PhilippinesLava flows from the crater of Mount Mayon Volcano during an eruption in Legazpi city
Albay, PhilippinesLava flows from the crater of Mount Mayon Volcano during an eruption in Legazpi city. Reuter

In the last couple of days, Mayon Volcano showed signs of increased activity. The most prominent one is an eerie glow from its crater. According to the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), the strange glow may have been caused by the volcano's magmatic activity.

As explained by the agency, it is possible that the remaining magma within the volcano is moving upwards toward its shallower levels. The presence of magma may have heated the volcano's overlaying atmosphere, which then resulted in an orange-coloured glow emanating from its crater.
"That is likely caused by hot magmatic gases heating the overlying atmosphere," the agency said in an advisory according to ABS CBN News. "This suggests the possibility that remnant magma may be quietly rising to the shallow levels of the edifice."

Mayon Volcano's Current Status

Mayon volcano erupts in Albay Province
Huge plumes of smoke are seen as Mayon volcano erupts in Albay Province, the Philippines, Jan. 25, 2018. More than 70,000 people have left the immediate danger zone around the erupting Mayon volcano in the Philippines, but still many villagers, mostly males, refuse to leave their homes to protect their farm and farm animals. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali/IANS) IANS

Despite the volcano's increased activity, PHIVOLCS noted in its latest bulletin that it had not detected volcanic earthquakes within the last couple of hours. However, the agency reported that the volcano's sulfur dioxide emission still averages 115 tons a day. Due to the volcano's current status, PHIVOLCS advised residents near Mayon to avoid entering the permanent 6-kilometre radius danger zone around it.

The agency also reported that the volcano is still at Alert Level 2, a status which it has maintained since December 2018. This was downgraded from Alert Level 4 after the volcano's phreatic eruption in January of the same year. Despite its lower status, PHIVOLCS noted that the volcano is still in danger of causing explosions.

"Alert Level 2 currently prevails over Mayon Volcano. This means that Mayon is at a moderate level of unrest," the agency stated. "DOST-PHIVOLCS reminds the public that sudden explosions, lava collapses, pyroclastic density currents or PDCs and ashfall can still occur and threaten areas in the upper to middle slopes of Mayon."