Mayon volcano, Philippines: eruption 2018 (part 1, 22-25 Feb) - lava flows

Mayon started to erupt again in January 2018, producing several lava flows on the southern and southeastern flanks along with frequent episodes of weak to strong lava fountaining and associated ash plumes, as well as pyroclastic flows triggered by collapse of the lava flow fronts.
Since the eruption seemed to be relatively long-lasting, we decided to visit the volcano during 22-27 Feb. Activity had decreased to mostly quiet lava effusion when observed during the first days (22-25 Feb):
[next gallery: Part 2 - explosions]
22 Feb 2018: as we fly towards Legazpi, Mayon volcano comes into view as we pass its northern neighbor, the older stratovolcano Masaragi visible in the left part of the photo. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
22 Feb 2018: as we fly towards Legazpi, Mayon volcano comes into view as we pass its northern neighb... [info]
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Mayon is one of the most impressive and perfectly symmetrical stratovolcanoes in the world. View is from northwest. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Mayon is one of the most impressive and perfectly symmetrical stratovolcanoes in the world. View is ... [info]
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A light ash plume can be seen rising from the top of the volcano where the active vent of the 2018 eruption lies. The volcano forms a prominent landmark, rising to 2462 m elevation from near sea level out of the otherwise flat landscape of the Albay Gulf. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A light ash plume can be seen rising from the top of the volcano where the active vent of the 2018 e... [info]
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Our plane actually passes through the ash plume during its descend towards Legazpi city airport (which had frequently been shut down during the early and more violent stages of the eruption). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Our plane actually passes through the ash plume during its descend towards Legazpi city airport (whi... [info]
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Shortly before landing, the two main active lava flows (Miisi and Bonga valleys on the southern and SE flanks) can be seen clearly. Dust rises from their sides and fronts where block detach from the main flow. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Shortly before landing, the two main active lava flows (Miisi and Bonga valleys on the southern and ... [info]
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Landed safely in Legapzi! Umbrellas are handed to passengers for the short transit to the terminal: either to protect from heavy rain (as we experienced during departure later, or from the blazing sun). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Landed safely in Legapzi! Umbrellas are handed to passengers for the short transit to the terminal: ... [info]
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The volcano is only approx. 10 km distance from the airport, which in turn is located well inside the small city of Legazpi (approx. 200,000 inhabitants). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The volcano is only approx. 10 km distance from the airport, which in turn is located well inside th... [info]
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Lignon Hill, an ancient cinder cone from a flank eruption of Mayon, near the airport is one of the best viewing areas for Mayon volcano and offers easy access. The Phivolcs volcano observatory is also located here. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Lignon Hill, an ancient cinder cone from a flank eruption of Mayon, near the airport is one of the b... [info]
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In the evening, the lava flows start gradually to show incandescence. The view is from Ligon Hill SSE of the volcano. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
In the evening, the lava flows start gradually to show incandescence. The view is from Ligon Hill SS... [info]
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From this location, only the two larger lava flows can be seen. Their most advanced active fronts are approx. 3.3 (left, S flank) and 4.5 km (right, SSE flank) distance from the summit. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
From this location, only the two larger lava flows can be seen. Their most advanced active fronts ar... [info]
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After nightfall, the lava flows are well visible, but only their upper 1-2 km are showing continuous incandescence. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
After nightfall, the lava flows are well visible, but only their upper 1-2 km are showing continuous... [info]
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An isolated small explosion occurred in the evening around 19:15 local time, generating a small ash plume rising a few 100 m and throwing some lava bombs onto the upper flanks. Apart from this event, no other explosions were observed during the night and the following two days. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
An isolated small explosion occurred in the evening around 19:15 local time, generating a small ash ... [info]
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Much of the visible incandescence of the lava flows comes from the near-continous, but mostly small rockfalls, as blocks detach from the surface and flanks of the viscous lava flows. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Much of the visible incandescence of the lava flows comes from the near-continous, but mostly small ... [info]
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23 Feb early dawn: during the night, the lava flow activity seemed to have increased; at times, the flows are incandescent over their whole length. View is from the south. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
23 Feb early dawn: during the night, the lava flow activity seemed to have increased; at times, the ... [info]
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Eastern winds bring a lot of moisture from the Pacific, resulting in the almost permanent presence of clouds around the slopes of the volcano in that direction. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Eastern winds bring a lot of moisture from the Pacific, resulting in the almost permanent presence o... [info]
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The lava flow on the SE side (Bonga valley, right) has produced a lateral breakout tongue from the main channel in its lower part. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The lava flow on the SE side (Bonga valley, right) has produced a lateral breakout tongue from the m... [info]
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Shortly before dawn: misty clouds, the bluish light and the lava glow create a particular ambiance. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Shortly before dawn: misty clouds, the bluish light and the lava glow create a particular ambiance. ... [info]
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Zoom onto the upper part of Mayon, where the active lava flow can be seen splitting into 3 flows (the eastern one into the Basud gully is hidden behind the ridge on the upper flank right below the crater, visible by the glow) (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Zoom onto the upper part of Mayon, where the active lava flow can be seen splitting into 3 flows (th... [info]
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Wider view with traces of glowing rockfalls on top of the lava flows. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Wider view with traces of glowing rockfalls on top of the lava flows. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Impression from the end of the Blue Hour. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Impression from the end of the Blue Hour. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Shortly before sunrise, the red glow of the lava disappears fast. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Shortly before sunrise, the red glow of the lava disappears fast. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The first sunrays kiss the volcano's summit. this zone is occupied by dense and vast palm groves, a major crop of the local economy. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The first sunrays kiss the volcano's summit. this zone is occupied by dense and vast palm groves, a ... [info]
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Within minutes, the cone is bathed in the golden morning light. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Within minutes, the cone is bathed in the golden morning light. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Concrete walls have been built to reinforce the banks of the numerous valleys draining from the volcano, which become violent streams carrying mud and blocks during the frequent heavy rains and cyclones. In fact, water is the most dangerous and destructive element in the Philippines, and in particular around the lower slopes of its volcanoes. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Concrete walls have been built to reinforce the banks of the numerous valleys draining from the volc... [info]
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A small steam puff occurs in the morning, but despite waiting many hours, no true explosive activity is observed. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A small steam puff occurs in the morning, but despite waiting many hours, no true explosive activity... [info]
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23 Feb evening: no significant changes were observed. The lava flows remain very active in their upper parts. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
23 Feb evening: no significant changes were observed. The lava flows remain very active in their upp... [info]
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Dense clouds from condensating moist air start to arrive again from the east, hugging the volcano. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Dense clouds from condensating moist air start to arrive again from the east, hugging the volcano. (... [info]
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The near full moon illuminates our observation point. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The near full moon illuminates our observation point. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Andrey and Marina, part of our Kamchatka volcano team, have joined in our short volcano tour as well. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Andrey and Marina, part of our Kamchatka volcano team, have joined in our short volcano tour as well... [info]
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Most of the evening, the volcano remains largely hidden in the clouds. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Most of the evening, the volcano remains largely hidden in the clouds. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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During a brief pause, the clouds seem to lift (but returned and made us give up observation for tonight). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
During a brief pause, the clouds seem to lift (but returned and made us give up observation for toni... [info]
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24 Feb: the enchanting Vera Falls at the foot of neighboring Mt Malinao Volcano NE of Mayon are a pleasant day-trip from Legazpi (about 1.5 hrs drive). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
24 Feb: the enchanting Vera Falls at the foot of neighboring Mt Malinao Volcano NE of Mayon are a pl... [info]
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Some locals rather prefer to rest during the day when it is hot. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Some locals rather prefer to rest during the day when it is hot. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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25 Feb afternoon. After 24 hours of non-stop heavy rain, we decide to visit the Cagsawa ruins in the northeastern outskirts of Legazpi. In 1814, a violent eruption of Mayon generated a large pyroclastic flows that burnt and destroyed the town of Cagsawa (only about 9 km distance from the summit). Today, the few remaining stone ruins are contained in a a small park as tourist attraction. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
25 Feb afternoon. After 24 hours of non-stop heavy rain, we decide to visit the Cagsawa ruins in the... [info]
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Mayon volcano mirrored in a flooded rice field (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Mayon volcano mirrored in a flooded rice field (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The remnants of the bell-tower and walls of the cathedral are the most prominent ruins left of Cagsawa. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The remnants of the bell-tower and walls of the cathedral are the most prominent ruins left of Cagsa... [info]
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