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

Laura is the archaeology and Life's Little Mysteries editor at Live Science. She also reports on general science, including paleontology. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site on autism research. She has won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for her reporting at a weekly newspaper near Seattle. Laura holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in science writing from NYU.