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 Lava Flows From Philippine  Volcano, 1000s Flee
International

Lava Flows From Philippine Volcano, 1000s Flee

The Philippines' most active volcano has sent more huge lava fragments rolling down its slopes in an ongoing gentle eruption that has prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of villagers, officials said Wednesday.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has warned that a "hazardous eruption" of Mount Mayon, located in the eastern Philippines, is possible within weeks.
Increased restiveness was recorded overnight, including 270 incidents of lava fragments and super-hot boulders rolling down from Mayon's crater — nearly four times the number recorded the previous day. Some reached the upper portion of a gully on the volcano's southeastern side, indicating that the lava dome has breached that side of the crater. The number of low-frequency volcanic earthquakes also increased, AP reported.
Molten lava has accumulated at the top of the 2,460-meter (8,070-foot) volcano's crater, creating a glow in the night sky that sparked both awe and fear among spectators.
"It's already erupting, but not explosive," said Renato Solidum, who heads the government's volcano monitoring agency. "Currently, the activity is just lava coming down. If there is an explosion, all sides of the volcano are threatened."
Mount Mayon, a popular tourist site known for its near-perfect cone, lies in coconut-producing Albay province, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila.
The provincial disaster operations center reported Wednesday that nearly 24,000 people from villages within an 8-kilometer (5-mile) radius from the crater had been evacuated.
The volcano has erupted 50 times in the last 500 years, sometimes violently, endangering thousands of poor villagers who insist on living or farming in the danger zone.

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