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Nuées Ardentes of the 1968 Eruption of Mayon Volcano, Philippines

June 2, 1969

Mayon Volcano, southeastern Luzon, began a series of explosive eruptions at 0900 April 21, 1968, and by May 15 more than 100 explosions had occurred, at least 6 people had been killed, and roughly 100 square km had been covered by more than 5 cm of airfall ash, blocky ash flows, and a lava flow. All material crupted was porphyritic augite-hypersthene andesite.

Explosions from the summit crater (elevation 2460 m) ejected large quantities of ash and incandescent blocks to a height exceeding 600 m and produced ash-laden clouds which rose to heights of 3 to 10 km. Backfall of the coarser material fed nuées ardentes which repeatedly swept down ravines on all sides of the volcanic cone. The velocity of one nuée ardente ranged from 9 to 63 m per sec. The largest nuées descended to the southwest and reached as far as 7 km from the summit. An aa lava flow also descended 3 1/2 km down this flank.

The nuées ardentes deposited pyroclastic flows that contained large breadcrust-surfaced blocks averaging about 30 cm across, but occasionally reaching 25 m in greatest dimension. These blocks were still very hot in their interiors several days later. Surrounding the pyroclastic flows is a seared zone as much as 2 km wide, but averaging a few hundred meters, in which vegetation is charred and splintered, but over which only a thin layer of airfall ash was deposited.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1969
Title Nuées Ardentes of the 1968 Eruption of Mayon Volcano, Philippines
DOI 10.1007/BF02596528
Authors James G. Moore, W.G. Melson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin Volcanologique
Index ID 70210487
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center

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