By Alexandria San Juan
Volcanic activities in the Main Crater of Taal Volcano continue to wane on Tuesday, days after state volcanologists lowered its danger status to Alert Level 2.
In its latest bulletin issued Tuesday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Taal Volcano emitted “weak steam laden plumes” rising from to 100 meters high before drifting southwest.
Emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2), a major gas component of magma, was also below instrumental due to weak plume activity, lower than the 58 tonnes per day recorded on Sunday.
A higher level of SO2 is being released when magma or molten rocks are near the surface of a volcano indicating a possible magmatic eruption.
Meanwhile, lesser quakes were also noted in the Taal Volcano Island from Monday morning to Tuesday morning with only 41 volcanic tremors plotted by the Taal Volcano Network associated to rock fracturing processes beneath and around the edifice.
Alert Level 2 remains in effect over Taal Volcano since last week which shows decrease in magmatic unrest, over a month after it erupted.
However, Phivolcs reminds the public that at Alert Level 2, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within Taal Volcano Island and along its coast.
The state volcanology agency reiterates its recommendation that entry into the volcano island, which is a Permanent Danger Zone, must be strictly prohibited.
“Local government units are advised to additionally assess previously evacuated areas within the seven-kilometer radius for damages and road accessibilities and to strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said in its advisory.
“People are also advised to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall and minor earthquakes,” it added.
Meanwhile, communities beside active river channels particularly where ash from the main eruption phase has been thickly deposited should increase vigilance when there is heavy and prolonged rainfall since the ash can be washed away and form lahars along the channels.