Taal volcano still volatile

THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said that it recorded 86 volcanic earthquakes in Taal Volcano in the last 24 hours.

Of the total quakes, 84 were tremors that had durations of one to 34 minutes, one was a low-frequency volcanic earthquake, and another was a hybrid earthquake and low-level background tremor that has persisted since July 7.

High levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emissions and steam-rich plumes that reached 2,100m before drifting northeast were also generated by the volcano.

Phivolcs said SO2 emission averaged 5,466 tonnes on July 17.

Magmatic unrest or Alert Level 3 is still in effect in Taal Volcano, meaning magma extruding from the volcano’s main crater could trigger an “explosive eruption”.

The alert level was raised after the volcano had a phreatomagmatic eruption on July 1.

Phivolcs reminded that Taal Volcano Island is a permanent danger zone, which means entry into the island as well as into the high-risk barangays in the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel is prohibited due to the hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should strong eruptions occur.

All activities within Taal Lake should also be restricted until the volcano calms, said Phivolcs yesterday.

“Communities around the Taal Lake shores are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify,” it added.

Aviation authorities were also advised not to fly over Taal Volcano due to airborne ash and ballistic fragments which can be caused by sudden explosions.

“Phivolcs maintains its close monitoring of Taal Volcano and any new development will be communicated to all concerned stakeholders,” Phivolcs said. — Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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