Hazardous smog continues to blanket Taal Volcano

Published August 15, 2021, 9:01 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz


Taal Volcano continues its emission of high levels of sulfur dioxide causing hazardous volcanic smog or “vog” within the area, based on the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s (Phivolcs) bulletin on Sunday, Aug. 15.

Phivolcs defines vog as a type of air pollution caused by volcanoes, consisting of fine droplets containing volcanic gas, such as sulfur dioxide, which is acidic and can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract in severities depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission at Taal Volcano averaged 9,025 tonnes on Aug. 14, higher than the 6,125 tonnes on Aug. 13.

In the past 24 hours, Phivolcs also observed the continuous upwelling of hot volcanic fluids in the Taal Lake, which generated plumes 2 kilometers high.

A total of 27 volcanic tremor events that lasted one to 45 minutes, including a low-level background tremor that has persisted since July 7, was also detected.

Phivolcs noted that Taal Volcano remains at Alert Level 2 due to “decreased unrest.” It has been under this status since July 23, 2021.

As Taal Volcano remains under Alert Level 2, it means that sudden steam- or gas-driven explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall, and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within and around the volcano island.

Phivolcs reminded the public that entry into the Taal Volcano Island, especially the vicinities of the main crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, is strictly prohibited.

Boating on Taal Lake must also be prohibited, it added.