Mayon volcano ready to blow?

The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 21 2009 11:56 AM

Mayon volcano ready to blow?

Mayon is a volcano in the Philippines that has been rumbling quite a bit lately, and scientists think it may be on the verge of a catastrophic eruption. They've issued a Level 4 alert; the only higher alert is Level 5, which is when a volcano is actually and actively erupting. This is serious: 45,000 people have been evacuated in case the volcano blows.

This image of Mayon was taken last week and posted on the Earth Observatory Image of the Day:

Advertisement

mayon_volcano

As you can see, downslope of the volcano -- and in the path of previous flows -- is the town of Legazpi, with nearly 200,000 inhabitants. Scientists at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology are recommending making danger zones that extend for several kilometers north and south of the volcano.

mayon_volcano_1984Activity such as earthquakes and smaller eruptions have already been seen, and it looks like this volcano really is going to erupt. The last big one was in 1993, and its history of deadly activity goes back longer than that; the picture here is of a pyroclastic flow from 1984.

I certainly hope that no one will be killed or injured from this, but I also know that there will always be people who don't heed the warnings. If only more people understood that science works, and that geologists and volcanologists know their stuff. They devote their lives to this field, and their study of the Earth and its paroxysms may save the lives of others.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 3:04 PM Pogo Returns With Another Utterly Catchy Disney Remix
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.