Major Philippine volcanic eruption seems imminent

Mayon – Shades of Pinatubo

2001 Image from NASA via the Space Shuttle: click for very hi res image

Here’s a recent AP report and bulletin from local authorities. Meanwhile, fools rush in as 2400 tourists a day flock to the area.

From the Philippine institute of Volcanologyand Seismology

30 December 2009 7:00 AM

For the past 24 hours, one ash explosion occurred at Mayon Volcano (13.2576 N, 123.6856 E). The explosion produced a dirty white ash column that rose to about 100 meters above the summit and drifted to the northwest. Lava continued to flow down along the Bonga-Buyuan, Miisi and Lidong gullies. The lava front has now reached about 5.9 kilometers from the summit along the Bonga-Buyuan gully.

Mayon Volcano’s seismic network recorded 16 volcanic earthquakes. A total of 150 rock fall events related to the detachment of lava fragments at the volcano’s upper slopes was also detected by the seismic network. Yesterday’s measurement of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emission rate yielded an average value of 4,397 tonnes per day (t/d). The volcano edifice remains inflated as indicated by the electronic tilt meter installed at the northeast sector of the volcano.

The status of Mayon Volcano is maintained at Alert Level 4. PHIVOLCS-DOST reiterates that the Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) from the summit of 8-km on the southern sector of the volcano and 7-km on the northern sector should be free from human activity.  Areas just outside of this EDZ should prepare for evacuation in the event hazardous eruptions intensify.  Active river channels and those perennially identified as lahar prone in the southern sector should also be avoided especially during bad weather conditions or when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall. In addition, Civil Aviation Authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano’s summit as ejected ash and volcanic fragments from sudden explosions may pose hazards to aircrafts. PHIVOLCS–DOST is closely monitoring Mayon Volcano’s activity and any new significant development will be immediately posted to all concerned.


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Who considers an exploding volcano a “viewing opportunity”?
“Up close and personal” can get you dead, guys.


No doubt a result of AGW~

OMG! at the satellite picture. That volcano looks like a ripe zit on the face of the earth ready to blow. I hope the local populace take note and evacuate before the event.
Considering the bigger picture- with a quiet sun, -ve AMO and -ve AO, a big volcanic eruption could flip the earths climate into protracted cooling. The final straw that broke the AGW back.

Douglas DC

Darwinian theory at work.Do not leave the shallow end of the Gene Pool…
My Ex-Brother in law was on the south side of St. Helens when it blew.Tried to
tell him to stay away that this wasn’t a movie production.I was flying around that thing for USGS and Army Corps. I wasn’t happy,either.Glad I was flying a Hottrod Twin Cessna.Oh the BIL-he managed to escape-barely-had his wife and kids,too…


That one will suddenly cool off this hot spot:

Mike Atkins

If this blows, how big would it be? If it is big, could it have an impact on temperatures?


I don’t think I like this. If there is a major eruption and the earth cools down as a result, the AGW cultists and fraudsters will blame the volcano for the cooling that would have occured regardless. Oh well.

Steve Goddard

This is going to make it extremely difficult for The Philippines to meet their CO2 emissions targets. However, the cooling effect of the sulfate emissions might make this winter even colder.


@ mojo (11:53:12) :
You don’t need to get close to them to be in danger from them. I was stationed at Subic Bay when Pinatubo erupted. Subic Bay was 25 miles away and deemed to be “safe” from any eruption. Wish the USGS and PhilVolics had told Mother Nature. Just When the main eruption occured a Typhon came onshore and the counter clockwise winds took the hot dry ash from the erupting volcano and dumped heavy wet ash on the base. The stuff was up to 2 ft deep in places, buildings collapsed and people killed.
Luckily Mayon doesn’t historicly erupt like Pinatubo does, ie blow up. Now what will be interesting and will put everyone in the hurt locker is the Yellowstone Super Volcano that is due for one of its historic eruptions. It goes pop usually every 600,000 years and its been 640,000 since the last eruption. In 2006 the USGS have seen two warning signs that Yellowstone might be heading towards eruption:
1. Major increase in the number and intensity of earth quakes.
2. Ground upswelling in the Crater. The ground has swelled over a foot since 2006 sowing magma rising up from the hotspot to the magma chamber beneath Yellowstone.


Well again, Al Gore says Tsunami’s are caused by anthropogenic global warming so if they are caused by earthquakes and underwater landslips then it follows that earhquakes and volcanic eruptions must also be caused by CO2.
The problem is that if this volcano does go bang that any cooling that occurs (including the last week or so of pre-emptive cooling) will all be attributed to volcanic action and not to solar activity etc.


How to observe an erupting volcano:
Step 1: Identify volcano about to erupt
Step 2: set up cameras looking toward volcano
Step 3: FLEE
Step 4: watch from a distance.

JonesII (12:04:58) :
“That one will suddenly cool off this hot spot:”
You may like to occasionally take a look up this one.


Is there any correlation between Solar minima & volcanic activity?
I seem to recall Leif saying that the Maunder & Dalton minima were times of high volcanic activity is why I ask.

George S.

Will our climate alarmists be able adjust all appropriate temperature measurements to preserve the hockey stick and hide the decline?
How will they ever eliminate the contribution of mother nature so they can highlight Mann-made climate change?
How long before the predictions of acid rain and volcanic winter?
If Mayon blows, it will be a Mann-caused catastrophe. Somebody call homeland security.


John (12:00:04)
The “zit” reference was gross, but that volcano indeed looks like a teenager’s worst nightmare. If history is any judge, that dude’s gonna blow at some point. But when? And how bad will it be? Volcanos are a lot like climate: they’re fickle and complex with many factors involved, both known and unknown. Funny how volcanos can effect climate upon the earth: one complex system complicating the complexities of another highly complex system. (Sorry, I couldn’t help it. But I meant it!)

I just wonder how much more CO2 we will be told to save to compensate for the output from this volcano?

Steve Schapel

Re your heading… it’s Philippines not Phillipines.
[Thanks, fixed. ~dbs, mod]

Gail Combs

If this puppy turns into a Pinatubo, we could be in a world of hurt food wise next year. Policies put in place since 1996 have converted the USA to “just in time” in regards to the food supply with the production of grains lower than consumption for the past eight years (2000-2007). Storing grain surplus has become out of fashion and much of the surplus was converted to bio-fuel. As of 2008 the USDA had no stores left.
“International grain supplies are the tightest in three decades, and prices of wheat, corn, rice and other food staples have doubled or tripled…
The whole world has gotten fairly sanguine about food supplies,” says Bruce Babcock, director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. “Advances in logistics and just-in-time production have allowed the world to get by on very low stock levels for a very long time. We kind of undershot it this year [2008]….
Total U.S. wheat stocks are down from 777 million bushels in 2001, and are the lowest since World War II. The USDA says that’s about a 35-day supply of wheat and notes that farmers in Texas are already starting to harvest a new crop. The American Bakers Association estimates the country has a 24-day supply of wheat compared with the previous three-month level on hand.”
Ag Professional discusses the changes in USDA policy that has resulted in the decrease in stock levels of grains.
“At the risk of sounding like Johnny One Note, we would suggest that the pressure for governments to institute trade embargos, would be much less if they were willing to hold reserve stocks to even out supplies in the event of a production shortfall and/or a sudden increase in demand. Adequate supplies would reduce the likelihood of food riots that have the potential to topple governments.
When the 1996 farm bill was passed, we were told that times had changed and governments no longer needed to hold reserves of storable commodities like wheat, rice, corn and soybeans. It was argued that commercial enterprises, in their quests for profits, would provide that function if there were a need for reserves.
We now read that over seven of the past eight years (2000-2007) the production of grains has been lower than the consumption. These years include the 2000 and 2001 crop years when prices were extremely low and U.S. farmers were collecting emergency and marketing loan payments. We were told that the prices in those years were low because farmers were overproducing.
The U.S. virtually eliminated government-held stocks under the provisions of the 1996 act. With consumption exceeding production, stock levels for grains fell by more than 200 million tonnes since 2000….”

This is a problem seen this year due to delayed harvest of corn because of rain according to the Iowa State University Extension Service.
“The corn harvest is later than it has been any time in recent memory, and the prolonged moist conditions are conducive for molds to develop on grain in the field. Over the past few days we have received numerous reports of ear rots developing in the field and questions concerning mycotoxin production when conditions are cool but wet.”
Fall is supposed to be clear, bright and sunny. Yesterday I lot a boot in the mud and today the mud/muck/water had turned to solid ice. I have never seen it this bad. (Central North Carolina USA)


If this is a big eruption the warmists will blame it for the cooling.


Where are all these mighty eco-warriors? Why aren’t they at the base of it protesting the catastrophic release of carbon emissions?
Nope, instead they are busy terrorizing the kiddies with the imminent death of everything if their parents don’t use curly light bulbs.
After we have decisively destroyed the CAGW myth, can we sue Greenpeace et al for intentional infliction of psychological trauma?

David Middleton

Are people really this stupid?
The Mayon volcano has a track record of generatind nuées ardentes during its rather violent eruptions. These are very bad things. They are the worst form of pyroclastic flows. They are fast moving clouds of extremely hot vapor and volcanic aerosols that travel at more than 100 mph. In 1902 a nuées ardentes destroyed the city of St. Pierre on Martinique when Mt. Pelee erupted. St. Pierre was four miles away from the volcano…

At about 7:50 a.m. on May 8, the volcano erupted with a deafening roar. A large black cloud composed of superheated gas, ash and rock rolled headlong down the south flank of Mt. Pelée at more than 100 miles per hour, its path directed by the V-shaped notch at the summit. In less than one minute it struck St. Pierre with hurricane force. The blast was powerful enough to carry a three-ton statue sixteen meters from its mount. One-meter-thick masonary walls were blown into rubble and support girders were mangled into twisted strands of metal. The searing heat of the cloud ignited huge bonfires. Thousands of barrels of rum stored in the city’s warehouses exploded, sending rivers of the flaming liquid through the streets and into the sea. The cloud continued to advanced over the harbor where it destroyed at least twenty ships anchored offshore. The hurricane force of the blast capsized the steamship Grappler, and its scorching heat set ablaze the American sailing ship Roraima, killing most of her passengers and crew. The Roraima had the misfortune of arriving only a few hours before the eruption. Those on on board could only watch in horror as the cloud descended on them after annihilating the city of St. Pierre. Of the ~28,000 people in St. Pierre, there were only two known survivors.


Ah, good! Now the warmers will finally have something to blame the lower temperatures on.


If it even lets off so much as a single flutter-blast or a treblo, Warmist willies will blame the next 350 years of cooling on the volcano.

Leo G

John – {q} Considering the bigger picture- with a quiet sun, -ve AMO and -ve AO, a big volcanic eruption could flip the earths climate into protracted cooling. The final straw that broke the AGW back. {EQ}
The pro AGW’s do not state that natural variability cannot, for a time, overcome the relentless march of increased energy entrapment. There claim, as far as I understand, is that there will be periods of cooling or stagnant temp rise, but over a long period of time, it will average to higher then what should be natural.
Therefore the “Pudding Proof”, will be when we come out of this latest cooling trend, if the average temp jumps (and quickly relatively speaking) more then what should be expected.

mojo asks: “Who considers an exploding volcano a “viewing opportunity”?”
I can understand the appeal.
Easily the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen is lava gushing into the ocean at night on the big island (Hawaii). The ground shaking under my feet, the roar of the rock, the smell of sulphur, the nearly unbearable heat (basically we got as close as the heat would allow), the orange light bathing everything including the huge billowing clouds of steam.


Haha – I can see it now…
In the grand rewriting of history this season’s cold winter in the North and mild summer in the South will be attributed to volcanic activity
Maybe the NOAA guys will even “correct” it out of the records for us

Galen Haugh

When Mt. St. Helens blew, the force was equivalent to a Hiroshima-sized A bomb every second. When the grand-daddy of them all, Yellowstone, last blew, the force was equivalent to 1,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs every second. And while the geologist in me would love to be up close and personal (my master’s thesis was on volcanism), the engineer in me wants to be watching this thing on TV in the safety of my own home, which is very distant from the vent.

John Blake

Climate Cultists –Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth et al.– will hasten to claim Mount Mayon emissions as key to the next few decades’ radical cooling phase. But no… despite a scattering of sunspots through December, indications are that we are entering a 20 – 70 year “dead sun” period akin to previous Dalton or even Maunder Minimums. By complex chains of circumstance, solar irradiance affects various climate determinants, including cosmic rays penetrating declining gusts of “solar wind”. Milankovich Cycles play their part, but only as plate tectonics disposes continental landmasses in accordance with deep-ocean currents affecting atmospheric circulation patterns.
From 1645 – 1715, the last Maunder Minimum defined the depth of a 500-year Little Ice Age, when wolves froze to death in Rhineland forests and Louis XIV’s wine-glass glazed over in his Palace of Versailles. Meantime, well-defined Pleistocene Era glaciations averaging 102,000 years display median 12,250-year remissions. Since continental ice sheets receded by BC 8800, only to be set back to BC 7300 by a 1,500-year “cold shock” called the Younger Dryas, our current Holocene Interglacial Epoch, Earth’s immemorial “long summer”, was statistically due to peter out in AD 2000 + (12,250 – 12,300) = AD 1950.
Given Luddite sociopaths’ determined sabotage of the U.S. energy economy over forty years, treating coal, oil, and nuclear power as luxuries rather than necessities, death-eating Warmists will feast on mega-deaths as Ice Time looms. Depend upon it, Al Gore and his criminally malfeasant ilk will admit to nothing as civilization crumbles in their wake.

Mann O Mann

So here is the new narrative that will play out in the next 2 months –
“Gee – the volcano blew and we should see decreasing temperatures due to the particulates in the upper atmosphere, and yet look at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Where is the snow in Vancouver? It must be Global Warming!”
That story will ignore several facts –
1) That Vancouver / British Columbia occupies the warm corner of Canada and that Vancouver doesn’t have snow very often. The only reason for the Olympics is that Whistler / Blackcomb are nearby and do have good snow coverage in winter and will therefore host the alpine events. In nearby Victoria British Columbia you can find palm trees – even dendronologists agree that palm trees are not found in snowy regions.
2) That the cold jet stream that is about to deep freeze the midwestern and eastern US and Canada will result in a warming on the western coast of the continent.
But never mind such – the narrative will be adopted and the alarmists will scream (like always) and anyone pointing out simple observations and weather patterns will be informed that they are deniers.

Pat Moffitt

So how much CO2 do we need to put out to offset the anticipated cooling effects?

Mann O Mann

Bret (12:50:13) :
Smell of the sulphur? You mean that George W. Bush was there?

Mojo, Take a look at the picture on wikipedia for Mt Pinatubo. I imagine it’s quite the viewing opportunity (at least briefly).
Boballab, The PI was home away from home for me when I was on Blue Ridge in Yoko. I understand my favorite bar on Magsaysay, Slim’s, was crushed by the ash.


“The Mayon volcano has a track record of generatind nuées ardentes during its rather violent eruptions. These are very bad things. They are the worst form of pyroclastic flows.”
Correction, they are the second worst form of pyroclastic flows. The worst is ignimbrites. Fortunately they are rare, the only ignimbritic eruption to occur in historical time was Katmai/Novarupta in 1912.
Interestingly both Rome and Mexico City are built largely on ignimbrites, and there seems to be no reason to suppose that the volcanoes in question are extinct.


John Blake (13:13:12) :
The Younger Dryas ended about 9750 BC, not 7300.


“Google earth” the island and have a look at the other older volcanic edifices in the area. Some of them look like collapsed calderas and others look like they blew their tops. Could be a significant dispersion of atmospheric dust by going on the the other volcanoes in the area. Then again it could all shut down tomorrow.

Jerry Musial

The data recorded by all the new global observation equipment now installed will prove invaluable. Hopefully CRU et al, will be the gatekeeper of the data.

Jerry Musial

I mean CRU et al will NOT be the gatekeepers!!

Brian D

Been quite a bit of tectonic quake activity to the south and east of the volcano. Don’t know what effect it’ll have on the volcano itself. Also, the full moon is in perigee, so that will add a little more stress.

Tony Hansen

David Middleton (12:35:35) :
…. St. Pierre was four miles away from the volcano…A large black cloud …. at more than 100 miles per hour….In less than one minute it struck St. Pierre ..
Sounds like a good bit more than 100 m.p.h

Dr A Burns

In 5 days they will have pumped out more emissions than the US does in a year. Quick, put a sulphur tax on them.

Dodgy Geezer

“Who considers an exploding volcano a “viewing opportunity”?
“Up close and personal” can get you dead, guys.”
Actually, vulcanologists are some of the bravest/most foolhardy of all scientists, depending on your point of view. Right up there with the obscure illness specialists who infect themselves to check the progress of the disease.
I believe they have the highest ‘death while working’ rate of all scientists…


Let’s tax it!


Let some military recon UAVs circle above it, that would make for fascinating material.


Question: Will the Philippines be taxed for all of the potential carbon emissions?

Jim Greig

An emergency climate change meeting should convene at the base of the Mayon Volcano. All those who know the science is settled are highly encouraged to attend. Deniers are not welcome.


Question about that Yellowstone super volcano thing…
What would be a safe distance from that? What would be the guestimated radius of total destruction?


@ John Blake
I don’t remember seeing any estimates of sunspot numbers showing Maunder or Dalton type minimums. If I remember right the latest estimates are showing the sun ramping back up next year. Is that your estimate, and if so what methods are you using to derive, and if not can you give a link please?

The 1814 Explosion of Mayon was probably one of the reasons that the Dalton minimum was a time of low temperatures, combined with Tambora in 1815 and the 1809 eruption of an unknown volcano [Dai, JGR, vol 96, 1991].

Will Hudson

Could we possibly use either AlGore or Gordon Brown as volcano butt-plugs. Or maybe the both of them at the same time, if it proves big enough?
Please, PLEASE !!!!!

boballab (12:14:38) :

Luckily Mayon doesn’t historicly erupt like Pinatubo does, ie blow up. Now what will be interesting and will put everyone in the hurt locker is the Yellowstone Super Volcano that is due for one of its historic eruptions. It goes pop usually every 600,000 years and its been 640,000 since the last eruption.

The last time I responded to this claim I got a thank you note from a volcanologist at the USGS. I remember some previous discussion about checking facts vs. common knowledge, and that led me to really tear into the guy who posted this claim. Hmm, I might be able to dig up the history at home. It would be worth doing, I found a very good .pdf about Yellowstone volcanism along the way. I’ll try to be kinder this pass.
You assertion that “it goes pop usually every 600,000 years and its been 640,000 since the last eruption” is half right. From :
Is it true that the next caldera-forming eruption of Yellowstone is overdue?
No. First of all, one cannot present recurrence intervals based on only two values. It would be statistically meaningless. But for those who insist… let’s do the arithmetic. The three eruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 0.64 million years ago. The two intervals are thus 0.8 and 0.66 million years, averaging to a 0.73 million-year interval. Again, the last eruption was 0.64 million years ago, implying that we are still about 90,000 years away from the time when we might consider calling Yellowstone overdue for another caldera-forming eruption. Nevertheless, we cannot discount the possibility of another such eruption occurring some time in the future, given Yellowstone’s volcanic history and the continued presence of magma beneath the Yellowstone caldera.

In 2006 the USGS have seen two warning signs that Yellowstone might be heading towards eruption:
1. Major increase in the number and intensity of earth quakes.
2. Ground upswelling in the Crater. The ground has swelled over a foot since 2006 sowing magma rising up from the hotspot to the magma chamber beneath Yellowstone.

2006, heh? I was in Yellowstone in 2003 when half of the Norris Geyser Basin was closed because ground temps next to the boardwalk melted boot soles or rangers taking ground temperature measurements. (Norris Basin is the hottest of all the basins, I felt very uncomfortable there.) It was also a period when people were investigating a bulge under Yellowstone Lake. While we were there, a Bozeman newspaper ran a stupid story “Yellowstone – Ready to Blow?” There had been an earthquake swarm not long before.
“Swelled over a foot since 2006?” Given that the caldera is some 30 miles wide, one foot is hardly worth getting excited. I think the bulge under the lake uplifted part of the shore half a foot. (Most of the features people to to see in Yellowstone are within the caldera.) has better information. GPS data it providing a huge amount of data about such changes.
See copy.pdf (not the story I read, this is from December 2003) and is reasonably decent. See also my for 2003 photos and notes about changes since 1974, my only other visit to Yellowstone.
Please folks, Yellowstone is a unique and fascinating area, it does not need to be hyped with misinformation about being overdue for a replacement caldera.
Also, please take the time to do a little research before posting here – I’m not fond of off the cuff comments that take an hour of my time to iron out.