Pinatubo alert status raised from normal to Level 1 after thousands of earthquakes swarm the volcano – First time since 1996!


The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday raised the alert status on Mount Pinatubo, from normal to Level 1 (low-level unrest). The volcano was under Alert Level 0 since January 1996.

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Pinatubo eruption 1991. Picture: Albert Garcia

According to the latest Bulletin, Pinatubo Volcano’s monitoring network recorded nine (9) volcanic earthquakes since yesterday, March 4, 2021.

Meanwhile, the Pinatubo Volcano Network (PVN) has detected a total of 1,722 imperceptible earthquakes beneath the volcano since 20 January 2021.

The first cluster of earthquakes on 20-26 January 2021 occurred along the Sacobia Lineament at depths of 15-28 kilometers and ranged between ML1.0 and ML2.5 in magnitudes.

A more persistent cluster of earthquakes is now hitting the north-northwest-south-southeast-trending structure 10 to 35 kilometers beneath the center of the edifice itself, with a few shallower earthquakes occurring on both ends of the cluster.

The earthquakes ranged between ML0.5 and ML2.8 in magnitude; all earthquakes recorded are associated with rock-fracturing processes.

A great interview of the guy who took the picture above:

Measurements at Pinatubo Crater lake in February 2021 yielded a total CO2 flux of 378 tonnes/day which is still within the background range of 1,000 tonnes/day recorded in the past decade.

Slight increases in the temperatures of monitored fumaroles or gas vents were recorded but other characteristics such as acidity (pH) remain unchanged.

Given the persistence of seismic activity, DOST-PHIVOLCS is raising the status of Pinatubo Volcano from Alert Level 0 to Alert Level 1. This means that there is low-level unrest that may be related to tectonic processes beneath the volcano and that no imminent eruption is foreseen.

Entry into the Pinatubo Crater area must be conducted with extreme caution and should be avoided if possible. Communities and local government units surrounding Pinatubo are reminded to be always prepared for both earthquake and volcanic hazards and to review, prepare and strengthen their contingency, emergency and other disaster preparedness plans.

Back in August 2020, 3 volcanic earthquakes were recorded under Pinatubo as well

Pinatubo eruption of 1991

Mt. Pinatubo’s last eruption was on June 15, 1991. Back then, it was described as the world’s largest volcanic eruption to happen in the past 100 years.

Everything went so fast. After a small phreatic eruption in April, the volcano blasted in June… Only 2 months inbetween!

The volcano emitted bursts of gas-charged magma into umbrella ash clouds. Hot flows of gas and ash descended the volcano and lahar swept down the valleys.

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