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Active Volcanoes

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Active Volcanoes in the Philippines

PHIVOLCS, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology publishes a daily "Volcano Bulletin" with information about current activity of the monitored volcanoes in the Philippines.

These "Volcano Bulletins" contain a lot of interesting background information, but they are like photos. They show just one moment. Volcanism is a dynamic process. So we started 4 years ago to collect the PHIVOLCS information.

Below you find the activity curves of the 3 recently most active volcanoes, Mayon, Taal and Bulusan. More information about all volcanoes in the Philippines can be found in our "Philippines Volcanoes page".


Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano is the Philippines' most active volcano and is considered to be the world's most perfectly formed volcano for its symmetrical cone. It is a basaltic-andesitic volcano.

The upper slopes of the volcano are steep averaging 35-40 degrees and are capped by a small summit crater. Its sides are layers of lava and other volcanic material. Mayon has had forty-seven eruptions in recorded history.

The first recorded eruption was in 1616, the last major eruption ceased on 1st October 2006, although a devastating lahar followed on 30 November 2006.

The most destructive eruption of Mayon occurred on February 1, 1814. Lava flowed but not as much compared to the 1766 eruption.

PHIVOLCS is closely monitoring Mayon Volcano and any new development will be relayed to all concerned.

Alert Level 1

Mayon Hazard Maps

Ash Hazard Map Lahar Hazard Map Lava Hazard Map Pyroclastic Hazard Map

Please click on above thumbnails to open large maps.

Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano, which means that it is at abnormal condition. Although this means that presently no magmatic eruption is imminent, it is strongly advised that the public refrain from entering the 6-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) due to the perennial life-threatening dangers of rockfalls, landslides/avalanches at the middle to upper slope, sudden ash puffs and steam-driven or phreatic eruptions from the summit.

Active stream/river channels and those identified as perennially lahar-prone areas on all sectors of the volcano should also be avoided especially during extreme weather conditions when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall. DOST-PHIVOLCS maintains its close monitoring of Mayon Volcano and any new development will be communicated to all concerned stakeholders.

 

Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano

Activity reports

These activity reports are provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP). The mission of GVP is to document, understand, and disseminate information about global volcanic activity.

Click on the date of the event. A full report will open in a new tab.

07/1968 Increased activity

10/1968 Steam and ash emissions followed by mudflows down all flanks

01/1969 Steaming from summit area; faint night glow

11/1977 Summit crater glow seen in early November; several new steam vents

02/1978 Glow and harmonic tremor continue

05/1978 Moderate eruption: lava flow, ash clouds, and evacuation

08/1978 Lava extrusion ends, but small ash explosions continue

08/1979 Seismic activity and crater glow

08/1980 Harmonic tremor

11/1980 Occasional tremor episodes through November

12/1980 Steam emission, crater glow, and seismicity

06/1981 Mudflows from typhoon rains

07/1981 Mudflow casualties updated

08/1984 Eruption clouds to 15 km; pyroclastic flows; lava flows

09/1984 Explosive activity reintensifies; 73,000 evacuated

02/1985 Eruption clouds from 23 September seen on satellite images

08/1988 Lahars and faint crater glow

09/1988 Crater glow; new areas of steaming

11/1988 Crater glow and steam emissions continue; mudflow damage

01/1993 Explosion generates pyroclastic flow that kills 68 people; activity continuing

02/1993 Eruption continues; pyroclastic flows; lava extrusion

03/1993 Strombolian eruption; activity wanes

08/1995 Crater glow and steam emissions

06/1999 Explosion on 22 June sends a plume to ~10-12 km altitude

01/2000 Summit-crater dome growth and escalating eruptions herald evacuations

02/2000 Strong explosions, lava flows, and pyroclastic flows following dome growth

04/2000 Decreasing activity; small eruptions, lava flows, secondary pyroclastic flows

05/2001 April 2000-May 2001 summary; dome growth beginning in January 2001

06/2001 Eruption escalates; pyroclastic flow on 24 June

08/2001 Two main episodes in 2001; quiet seen in late August

04/2002 Declining activity prompts PHIVOLCS to lower Alert Level to 0

03/2003 Small ash puff on 11 October 2002; explosions on 17 March and 5 April 2003

05/2003 Three small ash-and-steam explosions during April-May 2003

09/2003 Elevated sulfur-dioxide flux after mid-September; crater glow in October

12/2004 Minor activity in June, July, and September 2004; reported ash emission

03/2006 Eruptions resume in February 2006 after a 2-year hiatus

07/2006 New eruptive pulse starting 13 July; lava flows; thousands evacuated

08/2006 Lava extruding but with less vigor

05/2007 Eruption ends on 1 October 2006; typhoon causes deadly lahars

02/2009 Mild phreatic explosion with ash plume on 10 August 2008

10/2009 Increased activity in mid-2009; November 2009 eruption

12/2009 December 2009 eruption causes evacuation of more than 47,000 people

09/2011 Brief seismic crisis in May 2011, low activity follows

04/2013 Mainly calm during 2009-2013; 7 May 2013 explosion kills five climbers

09/2013 Quiet during May 2013-November 2013; super-typhoon and lahars

03/2016 New lava dome appears in summit crater, August 2014; evacuations due to rockfall hazard


Taal Volcano

Taal volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. In contrast to Mayon volcano, Taal is not topographically prominent, but its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the topography of SW Luzon.

The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 sq km surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake.

There have been 33 recorded eruptions at Taal since 1572. One of the more devastating eruptions occurred in 1911, which claimed more than a thousand lives. The deposits of that eruption consisted of a yellowish, fairly decomposed (non-juvenile) tephra with a high sulfur content.

Although the volcano has been quiet since 1977, it has shown signs of unrest since 1991, with strong seismic activity and ground fracturing events, as well as the formation of small mud pots and mud geysers on parts of the island.

Field measurements on 18 February 2016 at the eastern sector of the Main Crater Lake yielded a slight decrease in water temperature from 30.8°C to 30.6°C, a decrease in water level from 0.53 meter to 0.47 meter, and slight increase in acidity from pH 2.76 to 2.70. Ground deformation measurements through precise leveling surveys from November 3 to 16, 2015 indicated very slight deflation of the edifice compared to September-October survey. However, ground deformation from continuous GPS data as of Jan 27, 2016 indicated an inflationary trend since July 2014. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emission at the Main Crater Lake decreased to 1380 tons/day in January 2016 from 1566 tons/day in October 2015.

Alert Level 1

Taal Hazard Maps

Balistic Hazard Map Water Hazard Map Surge Hazard Map

Please click on above thumbnails to open large maps.

Alert Level 1 remains in effect over Taal Volcano. This means that hazardous eruption is not imminent. The public, however, is reminded that the Main Crater should be strictly off-limits because sudden steam explosions may occur and high concentrations of toxic gases may accumulate. The northern portion of the Main Crater rim, in the vicinity of Daang Kastila Trail, may also become hazardous when steam emission along existing fissures suddenly increases. Furthermore, the public is also reminded that the entire Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and permanent settlement in the island is strongly not recommended.

 

Taal volcano
Taal volcano

Activity reports

These activity reports are provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP). The mission of GVP is to document, understand, and disseminate information about global volcanic activity.

Click on the date of the event. A full report will open in a new tab.

09/1968 Increased steaming from cone area

10/1968 Increasing seismicity and surface thermal activity

12/1968 Continued seismicity through mid-December

10/1969 Eruption of ash and incandescent fragments on 29 October

11/1969 Continued production of lava flows and ejecta; new cone on SE flank

12/1969 Lava flows continue; new vent forms as activity shifts towards the west

12/1970 Profuse steaming; fresh landslide noted; active rift

09/1976 Precursors trigger evacuation before explosive eruptions in early September

11/1976 Strong, frequent eruptions with ashfall through mid-October

12/1976 Weak steaming; larger steam plume on 30 October

10/1977 Weak phreatic eruption with harmonic tremor

11/1977 Ejection of voluminous ash-laden steam clouds on 9 November

02/1978 Harmonic tremor continues, but no eruption

10/1987 Increase in recorded earthquakes; minor deformation

12/1987 Seismicity abates; thermal activity normal

08/1988 Seismicity and slight inflation

10/1989 Increased seismicity; main crater inflation

03/1991 Increased shallow seismicity and felt earthquakes; more than 1,000 evacuated

04/1991 Continued seismicity and changes to crater lake

07/1991 Abnormal seismicity continues

01/1992 Earthquake swarm, deformation, and new fissures document apparent intrusion; evacuations

02/1992 Crater lake temperature and seismicity decline

02/1994 Rise in seismicity, deformation, and temperature

12/2004 New episode of seismic unrest began in September 2004

08/2006 Ongoing seismic unrest

01/2007 Elevated seismicity, deformation, and hydrothermal activity during 2006

02/2011 Intermittent non-eruptive unrest during 2008-2010


Bulusan Volcano

Luzon's southernmost volcano, Bulusan, was constructed along the rim of the 11-km-diameter dacitic-to-rhyolitic Irosin caldera, which was formed about 35,000-40,000 years ago. Bulusan lies at the SE end of the Bicol volcanic arc occupying the peninsula of the same name that forms the elongated SE tip of Luzon.

Crater No. 1, called Blackbird Lake, is 20 m in diameter and 15 m deep. The oval Crater No. 2 is 60 m by 30 m and 15 m deep. Crater No. 3 is about 90 m in diameter and 20 m deep and Crater No. 4, which is near the northeastern, rim opened during the 1981 eruption. There is also a 100-meter fissure measuring 5 to 8 m wide below Crater No. 4.. Many moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded at Bulusan since the mid-19th century.

Bulusan Volcano’s seismic monitoring network recorded eight (8) volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours. Weak emission of white steam plumes that crept downslope towards southwest was observed. Precise leveling survey results from December 2-7, 2015 indicated slight inflationary changes of the volcano’s edifice relative to September 2015, consistent with ground deformation measurements from continuous GPS data since August 2015.

Alert Level 1

Bulusan Hazard Maps

Lava Hazard Map Pyroclastic Hazard Map

Please click on above thumbnails to open large maps.

Alert Level 1 (abnormal) status remains in effect over Bulusan Volcano, which means that it is currently in a state of unrest probably driven by hydrothermal processes that could generate steam driven or phreatic eruptions. Local government units and the public are reminded that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited and that vigilance in the Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) must be exercised due to the increased possibilities of sudden and hazardous phreatic eruptions.

Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano's summit as ash from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft. Furthermore, people living within valleys and along river/stream channels especially on the southeast, southwest and northwest sector of the edifice should be vigilant against sediment-laden stream flows and lahars in the event of heavy and prolonged rainfall. DOST-PHIVOLCS is closely monitoring Bulusan Volcano's condition and any new development will be communicated to all concerned stakeholders.

 

Bulusan volcano
Bulusan volcano

Activity reports

These activity reports are provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP). The mission of GVP is to document, understand, and disseminate information about global volcanic activity.

Click on the date of the event. A full report will open in a new tab.

07/1978 Small ash eruption

08/1978 Brief ash eruption continues

01/1980 Brief eruption with 1-km-high ash clouds

02/1980 Ash explosions and earthquakes

03/1980 Occasional steam and ash explosions continue

04/1980 Moderate ash explosions follows mild activity

06/1980 Steam and ash emission

07/1980 Ash eruption and earthquake swarm

08/1980 Explosions and seismicity continue

09/1980 Small ash ejection

11/1980 Seismic activity decreases

04/1981 Ash ejection and seismicity

06/1981 Earthquake swarm

07/1981 No eruption follows earthquake swarm

06/1983 Two small phreatic explosions from summit crater

04/1986 Seismic swarm in summit caldera

05/1987 Seismic swarm and slightly increased steaming

12/1987 Strong volcanic earthquakes; weak steam emissions

02/1988 Small ash ejections and seismicity

06/1988 Strong seismicity

08/1988 Vigorous seismicity continues; inflation

11/1994 Phreatic explosions cause ashfall in local villages and up to 16 km away

12/1994 Phreatic eruptions continue, but at a slower rate

01/1995 Phreatic ash eruptions continue with low seismicity and deformation

04/2006 Eruptions and earthquakes in March and April 2006 after years of little activity

05/2006 Explosive activity continues

09/2006 Ten explosions recorded seismically between 21 March and 28 June 2006

04/2007 Continued explosive eruptions and ashfall during October 2006 through May 2007

02/2008 Ash ejections continued to at least late 2007

03/2011 Earthquakes and explosions during 6 November 2010-early March 2011

03/2016 Phreatic eruptions May 2011, May–July 2015, and February 2016


Kanlaon Volcano

Kanlaon volcano (also spelled Canlaon or Canla-on), the most active of the central Philippines, forms the highest point on the island of Negros. The massive 2435-m-high andesitic stratovolcano is dotted with fissure-controlled pyroclastic cones and craters, many of which are filled by lakes. The largest debris avalanche known in the Philippines traveled 33 km to the SW from Kanlaon. The summit of Kanlaon contains a 2-km-wide, elongated northern caldera with a crater lake and a smaller, but higher, historically active vent, Lugud crater, to the south. Historical eruptions from Kanlaon, recorded since 1866, have typically consisted of phreatic explosions of small-to-moderate size that produce minor ashfalls near the volcano.

The volcano has three hot springs on its slopes: Mambucal Hot Springs on the northwest, Bucalan Hot Spring, Bungol Hot Spring. Its adjacent volcanic edifices are Mt. Silay and Mt. Mandalagan, north of Kanlaon.

On August 10, 1996, Kanlaon erupted without warning. In the 8 days from 23 August to 1 September, 2009, 257 volcanic earthquakes were recorded. Usual seismic activity during quiet periods is 0 to 4 quakes in any 24 hour period. Epicenters of the recorded quakes were clustered at the north-west slope which may indicate movement of an active local fault at the slope induced by pressure beneath the volcano. Surface observations did not show any significant change in the steam emission from the crater." A 4 kilometre Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is maintained around the volcano, because sudden explosions may occur without warning. Phivolcs continuously monitors volcanic activity at Kanlaon.

Alert Level 1

Kanlaon Hazard Maps

Lava Hazard Map Pyroclastic Hazard Map

Please click on above thumbnails to open large maps.

Alert Level 1 status remains in effect over Kanlaon Volcano, which means that it is currently in a state of unrest driven by hydrothermal processes that could generate more minor eruptions. The local government units and the public are reminded that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) is strictly prohibited due to the further possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or minor ash eruptions. Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as airborne ash from a sudden eruption can be hazardous to aircraft. DOST-PHIVOLCS is closely monitoring Kanlaon Volcano’s activity and any new development will be relayed to all concerned.

 

Kanlaon volcano
Kanlaon volcano

Activity reports

These activity reports are provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP). The mission of GVP is to document, understand, and disseminate information about global volcanic activity.

Click on the date of the event. A full report will open in a new tab.

10/1969 Ash eruptions cause mudflow hazards

06/1978 Twenty-minute ash eruption

07/1978 Intermittent ash emission continues

08/1978 Intermittent ash emission continues

05/1980 Earthquake swarm

06/1980 Seismicity declines

11/1980 Seismicity still above normal in late November

02/1985 Steam and ash eruption follows local seismicity

09/1985 Small ash eruption with seismicity

05/1986 Minor ash ejection

06/1986 Renewed explosions and seismicity

04/1987 Ash eruption follows increased seismicity

05/1987 Sulfate increased in thermal area before ash eruption

06/1988 Series of ash ejection

10/1989 Mild ash ejections to 1,200 m

11/1989 Ash ejections decline

12/1991 Small ash emission

05/1992 Small ash emission

08/1993 Phreatic explosions produce gray steam clouds that rise 800-1,000 m

07/1996 Sudden phreatic explosion kills three people

10/2001 Earthquakes increase during early 2001 and begin to decrease 28 March

01/2002 Increased seismicity during January 2002 may be precursor to eruption

05/2002 Increased seismicity during March-April 2002

03/2003 Steam emission in June 2002; ash emissions in November 2002 and March 2003

06/2003 Ash-and-steam explosions between 23 May and 4 July; minor ashfall on 8 June

07/2003 1-km-high plume of ash-laden steam on 10-11 July 2003

08/2003 Frequent ash explosions from 7 March until 23 July 2003

12/2004 Alert level lowered after seismic decrease; January 2005 phreatic ash emission

03/2005 Frequent ash emissions in March and April 2005; access remains restricted

06/2005 May 2005 ash ejections ceasing after the 25th as monitored parameters declined

02/2007 Steam-and-ash explosions in June and July 2006

04/2016 Sporadic ash explosions during November-December 2015 and March 2016


Volcano Monitoring

Active and potentially active volcanoes in the Philippines are monitored by PHIVOLCS.

On many islands PHIVOLCS maintains local observatories with trained staff and resident volcanologists and geologists.

The most important instruments are the 3 dimensional seismometers. These instruments measure motions of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic sources.

With 3 of these instruments, the origin of the motion can be determined with good precision.

 

Old mechanic seismometer

 

The old PHIVOLCS observatory near Hibok-Hibok volcano

Geodetic ground deformation survey (precise leveling) is regularly done on all volcanoes. Active and potentially active volcanoes are measured more frequently.

A volcano usually gets inflated by rising magma. This inflation can be detected by precise leveling.

The third monitored parameter is the quantity and the composition of the gas blown out by the volcano. Carbon dioxide is measured on Taal volcano, Sulfur dioxide emission is measured on Mayon volcano.

On Taal volcano the acidity (pH) of the waters in the crater lake is also analyzed.

Leica Geosystems digital level DNA03
Measuring gas composition

Questions & Answers

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