Philippines

Philippine volcano calmer, alert may be lowered

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MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines' Mayon volcano is quietening down and the danger of another major eruption has eased, scientists said on Sunday.

The vulcanology institute said Mayon, in Albay province 200 miles southeast of Manila, continued to spew sulphuric gases above normal levels but the number of volcanic tremors being recorded had gone down during the past 24 hours.

"Mayon is still considered to be in a mild state of eruption but overall assessment of volcanic activity indicates that the prospects for a sudden explosive eruption have diminished," the institute said in a statement.

"The observations indicate a gradual decline in Mayon's activity and if this trend continues in the next few days, (the institute) will consider lowering the current alert level five to alert level four," it added.

Alert five means the volcano is in a state of hazardous eruption while alert four means an eruption is possible within days.

Mayon erupted three times on July 26 and several smaller blasts followed days later. No one was killed in the explosions, which forced some 50,000 villagers to flee to emergency shelters.

The 8,000-foot high mountain has a history of 47 eruptions, the deadliest occurring in 1814 when it buried a town under ash and rocks and killed 1,200 residents.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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