MANILA, Philippines — Taal Volcano spewed anew a tall column of thick, white steam early Friday morning (January 24).
Experts from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) explained that the white steam-laden plumes of about 500 meters high that drifted towards the southwest direction signify that the heating up of volcanic materials underneath the crater has intensified.
In a press briefing, Volcano Monitoring Chief Ma. Antonia Bornas explained that the thick steam means that excessively hot volcanic materials are rising, causing the water to boil.
“Mayroon po kasi tayo talagang magma na umaakyat at ito po talaga ang binabantayan natin (The magma is still moving up and this is what we are monitoring at present),” Bornas said.
“Iyong steam ito po ay mula sa ground water or sa tubig ng lawa na sumisipsip sa ilalim ng lupa nung nagkaroon tayo ng fissuring at ito po ay nalilikha sa ibabaw ng magma dahil napakainit po nito at ibinubuga iyong steam (The thick steam came from ground water or the lake water that is drying up in the event of fissuring. There is evaporation going on top of the very hot magma thus steam is produced),” she added.
Bornas also noted the increase in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission from 144 tons per day on Thursday (January 23) to an average of 224 tons per day on Friday.
Still, PHIVOLCS stressed that the high frequency of volcanic tremors indicates that the magma is continuously rising and may still result to an eruptive explosion.
Based on PHIVOLCS monitoring, Taal Volcano has generated 486 volcanic earthquakes including four low-frequency earthquakes.
The agency said Alert Level 4 still remains in effect over Taal Volcano which means a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.
PHIVOLCS reiterates that forced evacuation of Taal Volcano island remains necessary as well as other identified high-risk areas where fissures are being observed.
MANILA, Philippines – Activities in the main crater of Taal Volcano may have been weaker but the signs of rising magma are still visible, according to the latest report from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
Based on PHIVOLCS’ 8:00 AM advisory (January 23), Taal volcano has generated weak to moderate emissions of white steam about 50 to 500 meters high from the main crater.
Emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) was measured at an average of 141 tonnes/day.
For the past 24 hours, PHIVOLCS recorded 467 volcanic earthquakes at the Taal Volcano network which means such intense activity likely signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice.
PHIVOLCS emphasized that such may lead to further eruptive activity.
Alert Level 4 still remains in effect over Taal Volcano, according to the agency, as hazardous explosive eruption is still possible within hours to days.
Volcano experts strongly reiterate total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk areas as identified in the hazard maps.
This covered areas within the 14-km radius from the Taal main crater and along the Pansipit River Valley where fissuring has been observed.
PHIVOLCS is continually monitoring the eruption and vows to provide updates of further developments in Taal volcano region.
The volcanic activity in Taal continues to wane, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
However, it is still not enough basis to lower the alert level in the region.
Phivolcs’ findings show that the amount of sulfur oxide or ashes emitted by Taal Volcano decreased from 4,000 tonnes per day to 153 tonnes. There is also a decrease in the frequency of volcanic earthquakes.
“Itong mga earthquakes na ito ay unti-unti na silang nag-diminish pati iyong mga low frequency events pero hindi ibig sabihin ay kampante na tayo (These earthquakes are slowly diminishing, even the low-frequency events. But this does not mean we can be lax about it),” according to Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) Chief Ma. Antonia Bornas.
The agency said the decreased emission can mean the ashes are blocked by the hardened magma in the volcano’s crater. This could also mean a high activity of magma inside the volcano which can prompt a huge eruption at any time.
If the waning of volcanic activity continues in the succeeding days, Phivolcs said they might lower the alert in the Taal region to level 3.
“Ibababa po naman po natin ang alert level after masiguro po natin ang probabilities for an eruption ay mababa na (We will lower the alert level after we assure that all probabilities of eruption are low),” Bornas added.
However, residents are still not allowed to return to their homes even if alert level 3 has been announced by Phivolcs.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
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