Mount Mayon (Volcano Week 4)

Tuesday, 28th July 2009 by

It’s Volcano Week 4 here at GSS. Volcanoes, about a week. You know the drill!

Rising up from the pastoral plains of Luzon Island in the Philippines is Mount Mayon, an active 2,400 metre-high stratovolcano. Known as the “perfect cone,” Mayon Volcano looks surreal in its symmetry, a true masterpiece of nature.

Mount Mayon Mount Mayon

The volcano rises up in stark contrast to the surrounding flat terrain, its upper slopes averaging a 35-40 degree grade. Eruptions occur primarily from a small volcanic crater but have also created pyroclastic flows that carved over 40 ravines around Mayon’s cone. Viewing Mt. Mayon in Google Earth shows its unique shape:

Mount Mayon

With 47 eruptions since 1616, it is the most active volcano in the Philippines and remains a danger to nearby villages even today. Its deadliest eruption took place in February of 1814 and killed over 1,300 people. During that Pompeii-style eruption, Mayon Volcano reportedly spewed plumes of hot ash while fast-moving lava flows completely covered the village of Cagsawa. The town’s bell tower was the only structure left standing after the eruption had ended.


In recent decades, Mayon Volcano has continued to make its presence known in the region. With eruptions in 1984, 1993, 2006, and 2008, the residents of nearby towns and villages have become accustomed to frequent evacuation warnings and safety alerts. If you’re one of those adventurous1 types who likes a steep uphill climb, try Mount Mayon, but be sure to wear a helmet and watch for falling debris and hot magma.

  1. …or masochistic