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Mayon tourists told to keep off lava trail, danger zone

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Mayon tourists told to keep off lava trail, danger zone
« on: April 25, 2008, 06:43:10 pm »
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Friday warned tourists not to venture near Mayon Volcano's hardened lava trail, one of the city's tourist attractions, as it is within the six-kilometer permanent danger zone.

"The volcano is still in an unstable condition and an unexpected explosion can occur anytime," said Phivolcs science research analyst Alex Baloloy.

He said the volcano's status remains at alert level one and an explosion could endanger tourists.

Reports said tourists have been visiting the lava trail in Bonga gully in Barangay (village) Bonga on the southeastern part of the volcano.

The lava trail, about 6.8 kilometers long, is the longest in 30 years.

In its Mayon Volcano update Friday, Phivolcs said the crater glow intensity has been raised to two, which meant that the glow can be seen by the naked eye.

Baloloy said the Ligñon Hill Observatory has observed the intermittent crater glow since January 5.

Phivolcs also reminded the public of the seven-kilometer extended danger zone at the southeastern slope and other areas that remain off-limits "due to the continuing threat from sudden small explosions and rock falls from the upper slopes."

On July 2006, Phivolcs raised Mayon's alert level to three after the volcano spewed lava.

The status was raised to alert level 4 in August of the same year, meaning a "hazardous, explosive eruption" was imminent.

More than 40,000 residents living on the southeast section of the volcano were asked to seek shalter in different evacuation centers in Legazpi City, Tabaco City, Ligao City and the towns of Daraga, Guinobatan, Camalig, Sto. Domingo and Malilipot.

The most destructive eruption of Mayon occurred on February 1, 1814, when 1,200 people died.(

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