Phivolcs to install 2 additional volcano monitoring stations in SouthCot

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) – In a bid to enhance their monitoring on the two active volcanoes in South Cotabato province, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is set to install two more seismic stations in two municipalities in the area.

Nane Danlag, acting head of the Phivolcs station here, said Tuesday the final preparations are underway for the installation of the two additional seismic stations, which will be situated in Barangay Miasong in Tupi and Barangay Salacafe in T’boli, South Cotabato.

She said the two additional seismic stations will mainly augment the operations of their two existing unmanned stations in the area and their main facility located at the Mindanao State University campus here.

She said the agency has been operating unmanned seismic stations in Sitio Alnamang, Barangay Palkan in Polomolok, South Cotabato and in Barangay San Jose in this city to monitor the activities of Mts. Matutum and Parker.

Phivolcs had declared Mts. Matutum and Parker, which straddles this city and the provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani, as active volcanoes and warned that it might erupt in due time.

Danlag said the installation of the two additional seismic stations will improve their monitoring and data gathering on the behavior of the two volcanoes.

“If you plot the location of our existing seismic stations and the two upcoming facilities with our main station, we’re eventually creating a triangular monitoring system. This means more improved and accurate monitoring of the two volcanoes,” she told MindaNews on the phone.

Danlag said the Phivolcs central office already awarded the contract for the two seismic station projects, which will be set up in August.

She said a team from the Phivolcs Volcanic Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division conducted a final assessment last week on the identified sites for the two new seismic stations.

A project briefer said the additional seismic stations will be unmanned and equipped with high precision instruments.

The facility will feature a vault that will host a solar-powered seismograph, which will be connected to the agency’s main station via broadband Internet.

It said the seismograph is capable of monitoring even the slightest seismic activity and transmit the data to the main station within a minute after it was recorded.

In the entire country, Phivolcs has 65 seismic stations, 29 of which are manned and 30 unmanned, and six volcano stations.

The agency’s central operating station is located at its main office in Quezon City and all information and data are received by the Data Receiving Center, which is operated by its Seismological Observation and Prediction Division.

The Phivolcs station here presently monitors an average of four to five tremors a day but all of them were so far tectonic in nature or origin.

Tectonic tremors or quakes are triggered by plate movements at the Earth’s core.

“As of today, we have not monitored any volcanic-related tremor in the area,” Danlag said.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum earlier warned that a major devastation in the magnitude of the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in Central Luzon could hit this city and other parts of Region 12 if one of the area’s two active volcanoes would eventually erupt.

He said Mts. Parker and Matutum may be considered small when compared to other volcanoes found in the country but are highly capable of triggering violent eruptions.

Mt. Parker, which is locally known as Melibengoy, has a listed elevation of 1,824 meters while Mt. Matutum was measured at 2,286 meters.

In the case of Mt. Parker, he said it is considered as a “twin” of Mt. Pinatubo due to their similarities in terms of characteristics and chemical composition of their rocks and magma.