Bicol Volcanic Arc

Bicol Volcanic Arc
Bicol Volcanic Arc | National Museum Bicol (@nmbicol)

Bicol Volcanic Arc

How many volcanoes are there in Bicol?

For the first feature in our Bulkan Ng Bikol series, let us learn about the volcanic centers and complexes in the Bicol region.

The Bicol Volcanic Arc is one of the prominent volcanic arcs that form the Philippine Mobile Belt (PMB). This 260-km volcanic arc runs across the central-eastern margin of the PMB, from Camarines Norte to Sorsogon in the Bicol Peninsula.

The Bicol Volcanic Arc hosts at least 12 volcanic centers in Bicol, four of which are categorized as active volcanoes by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS): Mt. Isarog and Mt. Iriga in Camarines Sur; Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon; and Mt. Mayon in Albay. Other volcanic centers in Bicol Arc include Mt. Labo, Mt. Culasi, Mt. Cone, Mt. Sagñay, Mt. Malinao, Mt. Masaraga, Mt. Bintacan, and the Bacon-Manito Complex.

The Bicol Arc lies between the Philippine Trench and the Philippine Fault Zone, which is approximately 210-280 km offshore. According to studies, the Philippine Sea Plate subducts or descends westward under the Philippine Mobile Belt along the Philippine trench at an average rate of 8cm/year. Further, arc volcanism is considered related to this subduction where a heavier plate dives beneath another plate when tectonic plates collide. Read here:

While active volcanism in Bicol puts lives and properties in danger, volcanic deposits from past eruptions make the soil fertile, and well-suited for agriculture. Its highlands covered by rich vegetation suggest a favorable impact of the volcanoes in the region.

Your National Museum Ph in Bicol will open its geology exhibition soon.

Photo: European Space Agency

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