Quakes rock Philippines' Bulusan volcano

Feb. 21, 2011 at 11:20 PM
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MANILA, Philippines, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Volcanic quakes kept Mount Bulusan in central Philippines busy Tuesday, a day after it spewed huge columns of ash, experts said.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has recorded at least 16 quakes since Bulusan came alive Monday with a 19-minute, 1.8-mile-high ash explosion that affected nearby town and villages.

"Bulusan Volcano's seismic network recorded 16 volcanic earthquakes during the past 24 hours. Two of these events, which occurred at 9:12 a.m. and 10:27 a.m. (Monday), were recorded as explosion-type earthquakes," the institute said in its latest update Tuesday, GMA News reported.

The ash explosion accompanied by a rumbling sound was heard in towns 6 miles away in Sorsogon province.

Traces of ash deposits also have been found in the province's Magallanes town and in Masbate City in Masbate province.

Institute officials said Bulusan's status remained at Alert Level 1, indicating its activity source is shallow and hydrothermal in nature. Entry into a 2.5-mile-radius area of the danger zone was prohibited because of the threat of steam and ash explosion, the report said.

They also warned prevailing winds could carry the ash to the northwest and southwest sides of the volcano, and residents there were asked to take precautions.

Some 2,000 villagers living at the base of the volcano were evacuated Monday.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has declared the vicinity around Mount Bulusan a "no-fly zone" because engines could be damaged it they take in volcanic ash.

Experts told the Philippine Daily Inquirer scientists have collected ash samples to determine if there is any indication of magmatic eruption soon.

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