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Face-Lift by Lava: Eruption Makes Volcano a Perfect Cone

Mayon volcano lava
Lava cascades down the slopes of Mayon volcano on Jan. 15. (Image credit: CHARISM SAYAT/AFP/Getty)

A fiery eruption just gave the Philippines' most active volcano a face-lift, according to news reports.

Mayon volcano began spewing streams of red-hot lava yesterday (Jan. 15). The eruption continued today, sending out torrents of lava that flowed more than 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away from the volcano's mouth, which prompted the evacuation of 21,000 people, according to CBS.

This lava has led to an unexpected consequence: It has repaired — at least temporarily — Mayon volcano's iconic cone shape, said Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), according to news reports. [5 Colossal Cones: Biggest Volcanoes on Earth]

In particular, the lava has fixed the volcano's southern side, which was damaged in previous eruptions, Solidum told GMA News, a Philippine news outlet.

However, the "face-lifted" crater could easily be destroyed again if today's eruption takes a more explosive turn, Solidum noted.

Moreover, now that the volcano's southern side has been healed, future lava flows could go down the volcano's north side, which would endanger people on that side, Solidum said.

In addition to lava, the eruption has caused nine separate tremors, four of which were accompanied by "short-duration lava fountaining," according to a PHIVOLCS update posted this morning.

Original article on Live Science.

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Laura Geggel
As an associate editor for Live Science, Laura Geggel covers general science, including the environment, archaeology and amazing animals. She has written for The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site covering autism research. Laura grew up in Seattle and studied English literature and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis before completing her graduate degree in science writing at NYU. When not writing, you'll find Laura playing Ultimate Frisbee.