Phivolcs hoping for weaker than 2020 Taal Volcano eruption in case another explosion occurs

Published July 2, 2021, 1:49 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

A giant white plume rising from Taal Volcano is observed on Friday, July 2, 2021. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

Taal Volcano may only have weak explosions as magma is already at a shallow level, said Science and Technology Undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) OIC Renato Solidum Jr.

“Dahil de-gas na ang magma sa mababaw na parte, hindi po namin inaasahan na kasing lakas nung last year na mabilis na umakyat ang magma na maraming gas kaya malakas ang pagsabog (Because the magma in the shallow part is already gaseous, we are not expecting that explosions will be as strong as last year when the magma rose quickly with a lot of gas leading to a big explosion),” Solidum said in a televised briefing on Friday, July 2.

He pointed out that the five explosions that occurred Thursday, July 1, were relatively weak.

A short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption at Taal’s main crater has occurred at around 3:16 p.m. on Thursday. This event generated a dark grayish plume that reached up to one kilometer high.

Phreatomagmatic eruption is caused by magma coming into contact with groundwater.

The first explosion was followed by four short phreatomagmatic bursts that occurred at 6:26 p.m., 7:21 p.m., 7:41 p.m, and 8:20 p.m. that lasted no longer than two minutes each and produced short jetted plumes that rose 200 meters above the main crater lake.

“May mangilan-ngilan na volcanic earthquakes pero patuloy ang pagbuga ng usok na may kasamang gas. Pero wala namang pagsabog na naulit mula kagabi (There have been a few volcanic earthquakes but smoke and gas continue to be emitted by the volcano. But no explosions have occurred since last night,” Solidum said.

However, Phivolcs is still not discounting a possible stronger eruption.

“Sana hindi matuloy ang mas malalakas pang pagsabog pero nandiyan pa rin yung banta na pinapakita ng Taal dahil marami pang gas na inilalabas (Hopefully, the more powerful explosions will not continue but there is still that threat because Taal is still releasing more gas),” Solidum said.

LOOK: Drone footage of continuous upwelling of the Taal Main Crater Lake taken today, 2 July 2021 at 10:31 AM, producing three-kilometer high degassing plumes. Taal erupted shortly yesterday at 3:16 PM, prompting the step-up to Alert Level 3 (Magmatic Unrest).

Posted by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS-DOST) on Thursday, July 1, 2021

He reiterated that Alert Level 3 is maintained over the volcano due to continuous magmatic unrest and could trigger an explosive eruption.

The public is prohibited from entering the entire Taal Volcano Island, which is a permanent danger zone.

Phivolcs also advised those in the high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas to evacuate due to hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami in case strong eruptions occur.

“All activities on Taal Lake should not be allowed at this time,” it added.