Mayon Volcano on soft eruption, lava seen

Mayon Volcano is seen emitting smoke in Albay province, Bicol region, south of Manila September 17, 2014.

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines - Mayon Volcano is now on soft eruption as lava flow was seen at the crater this Sunday morning.

Visual and aerial observation early this morning suggested the presence of "short and sluggish" lava flow at the eastern side of Bonga Gully just below the crater of Mount Mayon, according to Winchelle Sevilla, supervising science specialist of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Siesmology (Phivolcs).

The lava flow was about 350 meters long, said Sevilla.

Cedric Daep, Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) chief, said a suspected lava flow was validated following an aerial survey by Phivolcs and the Office of the Civil Defence personnel around 7 a.m., which was conducted soon after the lava flow was seen via telescope.

Albay Governor Joey Salceda told the INQUIRER in a text message that Mayon is most likely now on a "soft eruption," considering that there is now an observable flow of incandescent materials looking like lava.

Daep said with that kind of scenario, eruption may happen in "weeks."

Mayon first showed sign of heightened restiveness on Sept. 15, prompting Phivolcs to raise Mayon's alert level to 3, indicating that eruption was imminent.

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