Increased seismic activity detected at Kanlaon Volcano

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has reported heightened seismic activity at Kanlaon Volcano on Negros Island.

PHIVOLCS noted that on Sunday, May 26, the Kanlaon Volcano Network detected 24 volcano-tectonic earthquakes within less than three hours.

These earthquakes, with magnitudes ranging from 0.8 to 2.3, occurred at depths of 5 to 6 kilometers beneath the western flank of the volcano.

PHIVOLCS indicated that the increased seismicity suggests possible shallow rock fracturing, which could signal escalating volcanic unrest.

In addition to the increased seismic activity, continuous monitoring has revealed elevated levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide emissions.

Since January, sulfur dioxide emissions have averaged 1,291 tonnes per day and surged to 2,003 tonnes on May 26.

According to PHIVOLCS, ground deformation data from its global positioning system and electronic tilt measurements have indicated ongoing inflation, consistent with shallow hydrothermal activity driven by the degassing of deeper magma.

An Alert Level 1, or Low Level of Unrest, is currently maintained over Kanlaon. However, PHIVOLCS warned that the volcano’s status might be raised to Alert Level 2, or Moderate Level of Unrest, should current trends persist.

The public and local authorities are advised to remain vigilant, and entry into the four-kilometer permanent danger zone is strictly prohibited due to the heightened risk of sudden phreatic eruptions.

Aviation authorities are also cautioned to advise pilots against flying close to the volcano’s summit due to potential airborne hazards from eruptive activity.

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