Phivolcs records high level of sulfur dioxide at Taal Volcano

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Saturday, June 12, recorded a high level of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission at Taal Volcano.

Taal Volcano. (PNA file photo)

In its latest bulletin, Phivolcs said that sulfur dioxide emitted from Taal Volcano was measured at 9,911 per day on June 10.

Peak measurements were obtained within a period of "vigorous upwelling" at the Main Crater Lake which generated 1.5-kilometer steam plumes, Phivolcs said.

"Because of high levels of S02 aerosol over the western Taal Caldera, residents in three barangays of the Municipality of Agoncillo, Batangas Province -- Banyaga, Bilibinwang, and Subic Ilaya -- have experiences throat irritations and observed dry-out vegetation kill in crops, plants, and trees after a period of rain," the agency said.

"The unprecedented high levels of SO2 flux during this period of seismic quiescence warn not only of continued magmatic unrest but also, of direct impacts of volcanic gas on downwind populations and local economies around Taal Lake," it added.

Phivolcs warned that SO2 can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract. 

Residents around and near Taal volcano island (TVI) are advised to wear an N95 mask, drink plenty of water to reduce throat irritation or constriction, and stay indoors to limit exposure to the gas.

The Taal Volcano has been under Alert Level 2 since March 9, 2021, with threats of sudden steam or gas-driven explosions and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur within and around TVI.