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Panic in the Philippines as Mayon fumes once again

Swapna Mohanty | Updated on: 15 January 2018, 17:27 IST

On Monday morning volcanologists have put out a warning of a 3-degree disaster of the possible volcanic eruption to people living near summit Mayon. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has  notified that it has  monitored an ash column coming from the volcano, situated some 490 kms from the Philippines capital, Manila.



Sharing the fear of steam-driven eruption and warning against increasing tendency towards the eruption, Twitter has been flooded with messages, warnings, pictures and many were seen remembering 1814 deadly eruption.

Keeping the people's safety and the repetition of the tragedy of 1814 in mind--some written sources mentioned that at least 12,000 died, and subtle figure suggested 1,200-2,200 victims died--people have been ordered to leave a seven-kilometer radius as a thick cloud of white smoke filled the skies near the mount.

What was 1814 tragedy? Ruins of a once beautiful church near Mayon Volcano is a grim  reminder of the tragedy. This was a terrible catastrophe when the stratovolcano in mount Mayon, in the Philippines erupted, letting glowing stones and ash of more than thousand tons. Although people tried to save themselves from the hazard, many were killed by the raining hot stone that spewed high from the mountain volcano.

Some 200 people tried rescuing themselves in the grand Cagsawa Church, which was built at a greater height, but unfortunately were buried under the ash falling from the roof.

After the terrible incident, the only thing left behind was a town covered with bodies of dead and wounded people and a nine-centimeter thick layer of hot ashes.

How severe can be the eruption

This eruption can result in a 'pyroclastic flow or pyroclastic cloud'. This is a fast-moving current of hot gas and volcanic matter. This can travel at a speed of 700 km/h with a temperature of 1000 degree Celsius. This lava is more fluid than the lava which had erupted last time. This means the flow has an ability to travel up to 15 kilometers including the provincial capital, Legazpi city.

Since the area recently received torrential rainfall there are possibilities that the lava would come in contact with water and form a large amount of mud, which can then continue to flow downhill as a 'lahar'(a technical term for mud flow).

Last major volcanic eruption

As per the records, there have been 40 volcanic eruptions till date in Mount Mayon and this is one of the active volcanoes. The most recent disturbance that happened at the volcano  was in September 2014, when 63,000 people fled from their homes.

In the recent times, prior to the 2014 ,also the volcanic claimed a few lives--that was when a minor eruption took place in May 2013 which killed four climbers and their guide.

Frightening messages on Twitter

First published: 15 January 2018, 17:27 IST