Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson called on Negrenses to pray that Negros Occidental does not have another calamity on its hands after Kanlaon Volcano's seismic monitoring network recorded 136 volcano-tectonic earthquakes on its western flanks Sunday and yesterday.
Four of the earthquakes at 1:01 a.m., 1:04 a.m., 1:34 a.m., and 2:06 a.m. yesterday were recorded at magnitudes 3.2 to 4.7 and were felt at intensities 2 to 5 in Bacolod, La Carlota and Bago cities in Negros Occidental, and in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.
Two more earthquakes off La Carlota City were also reported at Magnitude 3.1 at 3:09 p.m. and 2.4 at 3.24 p.m. yesterday, Phivolcs reported.
"The recorded earthquake events (at Kanlaon), although felt, are not destructive. The earthquakes are caused by movement of a fault in the lower slopes of the volcano. These do not indicate magma movement yet," Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. said.
He added that Phivolcs would monitor the seismic activity if this will persist, or whether there will be changes in the type and migration of earthquakes beneath the summit.
Kanlaon Volcano has been under Alert Level 1 status since March 11. He said this means the volcano is under an abnormal condition, and there is a possibility of sudden and hazardous stream-driven eruption or phreatic eruptions.
Solidum urged the public not to panic but to be vigilant.
There are tremors and we are concerned about them, we hope they are just minor volcanic activities, Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said.
“While Phivolcs continues to monitor Kanlaon Volcano, the governor is urging the people of Negros Occidental to pray that we don’t have another calamity on our hands,” Diaz said.
He said the provincial government has so much on its hands as it continues to work to keep the people of Negros Occidental safe from COVID-19, with numerous overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals returning to the province. If Kanlaon erupts the province will be faced with a lot more problems, he said.
“We are praying Negros Occidental will be spared from such a situation,” he said.
Lacson said the representatives of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, Phivolcs and the towns and cities met yesterday to enhance preparedness for any eventuality.
Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, Provincial Disaster Management Program Division chief, said Kanlaon remains at Alert Level 1 and Phivolcs was analyzing volcanic activity data to better understand what triggered the earthquakes.
He met with representatives of the local government units near Kanlaon to discuss preparedness for any eventuality, Caelian said.
Phivolcs reported that as of 8 a.m. today, activity at the volcano vent consisted of moderate emission of white steam-laden plumes that rose 200 meters before drifting southwest.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 438 tons per day on Saturday, and ground deformation data from continuous GPS measurements indicate a slight deflation of the lower and mid slopes since January 2020, Phivolcs said.
Short-term electronic tilt monitoring on the southeastern flanks recorded continuing deflation on the lower slopes, but inflation on the mid slopes has occurred since April 2020. These parameters indicate that hydrothermal or magmatic activity is occurring beneath the edifice, it added.
Phivolcs reminded LGUs and the public that entry into the 4-kilometer radius Permanent Danger Zone of the volcano must be strictly prohibited due to further possibilities of sudden and hazardous steam-driven or phreatic eruptions.
Civil aviation authorities must also advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejecta from any sudden phreatic eruption can be hazardous to aircraft, it said.
Phivolcs said it is closely monitoring Kanlaon Volcano’s activity and any new development will be relayed to all concerned.*with a report from PNA
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