LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – (UPDATE) Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon spewed ash accompanied by rumbling sounds heard up to five kilometers away at 12:25 a.m. Friday, a state volcanologist said.
The height of the ash colum could not be observed, however, due to a thick cloud cover, said Crispulo Diolata, resident volcanologist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in Sorsogon.
He described the event “as an explosion” that lasted for around 10 minutes.
He said the explosion indicated that steam pressure was building up at the volcano’s vent. Seismic instruments detected at least 10 volcanic quakes, six of them short-duration harmonic tremors, during the past 24-hour observation period, he added.
Initial field investigation showed that ash deposits up to 2.5 millimeters deep blanketed a dozen villages in the municipalities of Juban and Irosin on the northwest and southwest flanks of the volcano.
Eight villages in Juban were affected, namely, Calaadgaw, Rangas, Puting-Sapa, Sangkayon, Bacolod, Buranburan, Gurayan and Aniog. The affected villages in Irosin were Cogon, Bolos, Umagom and Gulang-gulang.
Alert Level 1 remained hoisted over Bulusan, according to Phivolcs.
Residents have been warned not to enter the four-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone around the volcano.
Bulusan is among 23 active volcanoes in the Philippines, which is located in the so-called Ring of Fire of volcanic activity around the Pacific.
Bulusan last erupted between March and June of 2006.