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'Danger zone' activated as volcano in the Philippines spews out 1km-long ash cloud

Mount Bulusan spewing ash, the Philippines
Mount Bulusan spewing ash, the Philippines   -   Copyright  Reuters
By Jill Pole  with Reuters

A unpredictable volcano in the central Philippines spewed out a column of ash at least 1 km long into the sky on Sunday.

Authorities were forced to raise the alert at Mount Bulusan by one notch and remind residents not to enter the danger zone.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology raised its alert on Bulusan to level 1, or low level of volcanic unrest, from 0 on a five-level scale, which means it is currently in an "abnormal condition."

In the 24 hours before the eruption, 77 volcanic earthquakes were recorded, the institute said in a statement.

Renato Solidum, the head of the institute, described Bulusan's eruption as "phreatic", or steam-driven, which is typical of Bulusan Volcano.

"The precaution is the same, no entry in the 4 km radius permanent danger zone, and of course, one has to be protected form ashfall if there will be ashfall in the area, like wearing of masks or staying indoors," Solidum told Reuters.

Volcanos can create acid rain which is harmful to the environment.

Volcanos can create acid rain which is harmful to the environment. Toxic gases emitted from volcanos, in particular SO2, HCl, and HF, mix with water vapour to form the acid rain, which then damages crops on the ground.

Earthquakes are common in the Pacific 'Ring of Fire'

The huge cloud of ash from Bulusan turned the skies grey, as seen in a video shared on Facebook by a resident of Casiguran town on Bulusan's northern slopes.

Bulusan, among the Philippines' 24 active volcanoes, last erupted in June 2017, the institute said.

The Philippines is in the Pacific 'Ring of Fire', where volcanic activity and earthquakes are common.

Mount Pinatubo, on Luzon island in the northern Philippines, erupted in 1991 after lying dormant for 600 years. That eruption buried dozens of villages under tonnes of mud. More than 800 people died, mostly from diseases in crowded evacuation camps.