Canlaon Volcano not restive, says PHIVOLCS

April 7, 2009 2:47 pm 

By Judy Flores-Partlow

DUMAGUETE CITY, April 7 – Canlaon Volcano in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental is not showing any sign of unrest, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) in Negros.

From March 31 to present, no earthquake linked to the volcano has been recorded, and there is no imminent danger of an eruption, the PHIVOLCS said.

Ben Tanatan of PHIVOLCS, whose office has recently been transferred from Canlaon City to La Carlota City in Negros Occidental, at the same time debunked initial reports that the tremors felt last March 30 there were most likely caused by geothermal drilling of the Energy Development Corporation-Northern Negros Geothermal Production Field (EDC-NNGPF).

He declined to comment on the possibility of geothermal drilling as having caused the tremors, saying they do not have the evidence to prove such.

Contrary to earlier published reports, Tanatan said PHIVOLCS could not be conclusive as to the cause of at least 20 tremors recorded by their earthquake sensor last week, as they were transferring their instruments to their new office in La Carlota.

Tanatan said that of the 20 tremors recorded, residents in Canlaon City felt only two, one in the morning and another in the afternoon of March 30, but with such small intensity that others were not even sensitive to them.

He explained that they needed at least three earthquake measuring instruments to plot the tremors and determine the cause.

At the time of the tremors, the PHIVOLCS was setting up their instruments in Negros Occidental, he added.

In fact, the PHIVOLCS could not also conclude that the tremors recorded last week were volcanic in origin, Tanatan said.

According to Tanatan, if Canlaon Volcano would show some indicators of unrest, it is normal for PHIVOLCS to record even more than 100 tremors in one day due to volcanic activity.

The PHIVOLCS issued their statement following public speculation that geothermal drilling at the buffer zone of the Mt. Kanlaon National Park in the Negros Occidental side had caused the tremors.

Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong of the first district of Negros Oriental, who was on a medical mission in Barangay Pula, Canlaon City, also said she had felt the tremors.

She said she might seek congressional inquiry as to the cause of the tremors even as her office is awaiting a formal report from the PHIVOLCS.

Limkaichong said measures must be in place to forewarn the public of a possible eruption of the volcano.

She added she would also look into the link between drilling activity at the buffer zone of the Mt. Kanlaon National Park and the volcano.

But, Tanatan said only the five-kilometer danger zone of the Canlaon Volcano would be at immediate risk if the volcano would begin to show signs of unusual activity.

In the event of a repeat of the March 31 tremors, the PHIVOLCS-Negros can now make a plot with the use of four sensors and determine their cause and origin.

PHIVOLCS has set up one sensor each in Sitio Pataan, Barangay Mailom in Baco City, Negros Occidental and in La Carlota City, and two others in Canlaon City.

The last recorded eruption of Canlaon Volcano was in October 2006, he said.

Since then, no volcanic activity has been reported there, he added. (PNA) LAP/JFP

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