This map shows stratospheric sulfur dioxide concentrations on January 13, as detected by the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite on the NOAA-NASA Suomi-NPP satellite.
NASA Earth Observatory
Map shows Taal Volcano spewing sulfur into atmosphere
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - January 15, 2020 - 12:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — NASA Earth Observatory has observed the amount of sulfur dioxide that Taal Volcano has released into the air since its phreatic or steam-driven eruption last Sunday.

NASA has posted a map showing stratospheric dioxide concentrations on January 13, which was detected by the NOAA-NASA Suomi-NPP satellite.

While this amount has no measurable impacts on the climate yet, Michigan Technological University volcanologist Simon Carn said this might increase in the next days.

“However, it is possible that the Taal eruption could continue and produce more SO? in the coming days,” Carn told NASA Earth Observatory.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the volcano in Batangas province displayed "generally weaker" activity in the past 24 hours.

However, Alert Level 4 remains under effect over Taal Volcano as hazardous explosive eruption is still possible within hours or days.

Phivolcs said sulfur dioxide emission was at an average of 1,686 tonnes/day on Tuesday.

According to the US Geological Survey, SO? emissions can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat.

"SO2 emissions can cause acid rain and air pollution downwind of a volcano—at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii, high concentrations of sulfur dioxide produce volcanic smog causing persistent health problems for downwind populations," the USGS said on its website.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 27, 2020 - 9:35am

Get updates as Phivolcs issues warnings over Taal Volcano's unrest. (Main photo by Adel)

February 27, 2020 - 9:35am

Philvolcs says in its 8 a.m. bulletin that Taal Volcano’s main crater emitted steam-laden plumes that are 300 meters high between 9pm February 26 to 3am of February 27.

Taal Volcano remains at Alert Level 2.

February 15, 2020 - 4:32pm

Police say they are still waiting for the Scene of the Crime Operatives for confirmation of the victim's identity, whose body was found dead underneath mud on Taal volcano Island.

February 14, 2020 - 9:29am

Phivolcs downgrades the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2.

The state seismic network characterized the activity of the volcano in the last three weeks by "less frequent volcanic earthquake activity, stabilizing ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and Taal Volcano Island edifices and weak steam/gas emissions" at the main crater.

Under Alert Level 2, Phivolcs warned that sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the volcano island.

"People are also advised to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall, and minor earthquakes," Phivolcs said.

February 8, 2020 - 10:15am

Alert Level 3 is still up over Taal Volcano, state volcanologists say.

According to the 8 a.m. bulletin Saturday, the volcano emitted white to dirty white steam-laden plumes rising 200 to 300m high before drifting southwest in the past 24 hours.

"Weak steaming from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail is currently ongoing. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 54 tonnes/day on February 7, 2020," Phivolcs says. 

"The Taal Volcano Network recorded one hundred fifteen (115) volcanic earthquakes including three (3) low-frequency events. These earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice that could lead to eruptive activity at the Main Crater," it adds.

February 7, 2020 - 8:36am

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano as its latest activity signify possible eruptive activity at the main crater.

In the last 24 hours, Phivolcs observed moderate emission of white to dirty white steam-laden plumes rising 200 to 300 meters high before drifting southwest.

The state seismic network also observed weak steamong from fissure vents along the Daang Kastila trail.

At least 118 volcanic earthquakes, including five low-frequency events and one harmonic tremor that lasted three minutes were recorded.

"DOST-PHIVOLCS reminds the public that sudden steam-driven and even weak phreatomagmatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall, and lethal volcanic gas expulsions can still occur and threaten areas within Taal Volcano Island and nearby lakeshores," Phivolcs said in its 8 a.m. bulletin for February 7.

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