Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mayon volcano menaces nearby residents

Scientists raised the alert level on Mayon to two steps below a major eruption after ash explosions late Monday.

SHOOT: What can we be grateful for besides our health? Possibly that we don't live on the doorstep of an active volcano.
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Lava cascades down the slopes of Mayon volcano in Legazpi city, Albay province,

MANILA, Philippines – The Mayon volcano, which has blown its top nearly 40 times in 400 years, menaced nearby residents with small eruptions of ash and lava Wednesday as Philippine authorities moved more than 30,000 people to shelters in case of a larger eruption.

Trickles of lava rolled down the 8,070-foot (2,460-meter) mountain towering over the Albay Gulf in the central Philippines, while five new ash explosions, one of them reaching 550 yards (500 meters) in the air, shook Mayon's steep slopes, said chief state volcanologist Renato Solidum.

During the day, the summit is shrouded in white clouds of dust and ash, and dark orange lava becomes clearly visible in the nighttime. Residents of Legazpi city on the foothills of the cone-shaped mountain converge in a downtown park at night to watch the spectacle from a safe distance.

Philippines lies along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where volcanic activity and earthquakes are common. About 22 out of 37 volcanos in the archipelago are active
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