'Magmatic unrest' continues at Taal Volcano

Published July 5, 2021, 9:13 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

White smoke was seen billowing out of Taal Volcano in Batangas on July 4, 2021 (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

Earthquakes and volcanic sulfur dioxide emissions related to magmatic unrest were still observed in Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said on Monday, July 5.

Taal Volcano had 17 volcanic earthquakes, including one volcanic tremor event having a duration of 45 minutes, 16 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, and a low-level background tremor that has persisted since April 8.

High levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emissions and steam-rich plumes that rose up to 2.5 kilometers were also observed during the 24-hour monitoring period.

On Sunday, July 4, Phivolcs recorded Taal’s highest sulfur dioxide emission at 22,628 tonnes.

“These observation parameters may indicate that an eruption similar to the July 1, 2021 event may occur anytime soon,” Phivolcs warned on Sunday.

Last July 1, Taal Volcano generated a short-lived dark phreatomagmatic plume that reached one kilometer high, prompting Phivolcs to raise the volcano’s alert status from 2 to 3.

Phivolcs said that Taal Volcano remains under Alert Level 3 due to continuous “magmatic unrest.”

“At Alert Level 3, magma extruding from the Main Crater could drive explosive eruption,” Phivolcs said.

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.

Phivolcs asked residents around Taal Lake to “calmly” prepare for possible evacuation should Taal Volcano’s unrest intensifies.