Taal Volcano still blankets island, surrounding areas with smog — Phivolcs

Published July 2, 2021, 8:30 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Phreatomagmatic eruption of Taal Volcano that took place at 3:16 p.m. on July 1, 2021. (Photo from Phivolcs)

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) continued to detect high levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) from Taal causing volcanic smog or “vog” on the island and surrounding communities.

In a bulletin issued on Friday, July 2, Phivolcs observed high levels of volcanic SO2 emissions and steam-rich plumes that rose up to three kilometers from the Taal main crater in the past 24 hours.

SO2 emission averaged 13,287 tonnes per day on Thursday, July 1. Phivolcs said Taal Volcano has recorded its highest SO2 emission on June 28 at 14,326 tonnes.

Taal also had 29 volcanic earthquakes, including one explosion-type earthquake, 22 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, and two volcanic tremor events having durations of three minutes, and a low-level background tremor that has persisted since April 8, 2021.

Phivolcs raised Taal Volcano’s status from Alert Level to 2 to Alert Level 3 on Thursday after a short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption at the main crater occurred at around 3:16 p.m.

This event generated a dark grayish plume that reached up to one kilometer high, it said.

It 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.

Phivolcs warned that magma extruding from the main crater 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.

Communities around the Taal lakeshores were also advised to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog.

Residents around Taal Lake should “calmly” prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify, Phivolcs said.