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Spewing Philippine Volcano Forces Mass Evacuation December 25, 2009
Mayon lava flows
Streams of lava flowing for miles down Mayon volcano have burned crops and forced tens of thousands to evacuate in the central Philippines.
Mounting activity inside Mayon volcano prompted nearly 47,000 nearby residents in the central Philippines to flee into emergency shelters.

Flows of molten lava have poured three miles down the cylindrical mountain’s slopes, burning coconut trees and other crops in their paths.

Lava fountains reaching 650 feet in height were observed spewing from the volcano's crater several times.

Officials, aided by the military, have imposed a five-mile exclusion zone around Mayon.

That forced those living in numerous villages within the zone to evacuate in an effort to avoid the kind of disaster that occurred during a 1993 eruption.

Deadly pyroclastic flows of superheated debris cascaded down Mayon’s slopes without warning on Feb. 3 of that year, burning alive 77 farmers.

Volcanologists warn that Mayon is currently producing an increase in sulfur dioxide gas as quakes become less in number but stronger in intensity.

They fear those are signs that a major explosive eruption is imminent.

The volcano’s most deadly eruption in recorded history came in 1814, when more than 1,200 people were buried by a flow of volcanic mud.

Photo: Phivolcs