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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 06:45 GMT 07:45 UK
Full moon fear for Mayon volcano
By Sarah Toms
BBC News, Manila

The volcano sends out smoke and ash on 8 August
Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines
Scientists in the Philippines have warned that Wednesday's full moon could spark a major eruption of the Mount Mayon volcano.

Experts say Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines, could erupt at any time.

But the full moon's gravitational pull could trigger the eruption, they say.

A full moon coincided with at least three of Mayon's 47 eruptions, including the two most recent ones in 2000 and 2001.

The volcano has been spewing lava and flaming rocks the size of cars in a quiet but steady eruption since last month.

TIPPING POINT
map
Some scientists say gravitational pull of sun and moon can influence eruptions
Influence is greatest at full and new moon
Others say more research is needed

The nearest village is now less than 2km from a trail of molten lava streaming down the crater.

Nearly 40,000 people have been moved from an 8km danger zone around the volcano.

Soldiers are appealing to reluctant villagers to leave their homes and farms around a rumbling volcano.

But still some people have refused to leave their livestock and farms.

President Gloria Arroyo has urged residents not to flirt with danger, saying evacuation centres were prepared to offer basic needs and services.

She says she is confident though there will be no casualties if Mayon erupts.

The volcano has erupted around 50 times over the past 400 years. One of the worst was in 1993 when at least 75 people were killed.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Villagers told not to 'flirt with danger'



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Philippines volcano
07 Aug 06 |  In Pictures
Philippine volcano 'set to erupt'
07 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Philippines volcano
20 Jul 06 |  In Pictures
Images from the Mayon eruption
29 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Animated guide: Volcanoes
04 May 06 |  Science/Nature
Timeline: The Philippines
24 Jun 06 |  Country profiles

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