Phivolcs raises Taal Volcano's alert status to level 2
FILE - A man watches from his boat Taal Volcano spewing plumes on this January 13, 2020 photo.
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, file

Phivolcs raises Taal Volcano's alert status to level 2

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - March 9, 2021 - 8:49am

MANILA, Philippines — State volcanologists on Tuesday raised the status of Taal Volcano in Batangas to Alert Level 2, saying it has been exhibiting “increasing unrest.”

In an advisory, Phivolcs said the raising of the alert level means “there is probable magmatic activity that may or may not lead to an eruption.”

With Alert Level 2 hoisted over Taal Volcano, the institute stressed that entry into Taal Volcano Island—a permanent danger zone—remains strictly prohibited. Evacuation, however, is not yet recommended.

“Local government units are advised to continuously assess previously evacuated barangays around Taal Lake for damages and road accessibilities and to strengthen preparedness, contingency, and communication measures in case of renewed unrest,” Phivolcs said.

“Residents of these barangays are advised to be always prepared, to keep calm and listen to informational only from trusted or verified sources,” it added.

Increased activity

Phivolcs said the total number of volcanic tremor events has increased to 866 since the onset of increased activity on February 13. There were also 141 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes that occurred within the volcano island and immediate vicinities.

In the past 24 hours, 28 volcanic tremor episodes, four low frequency volcanic earthquakes and one hybrid earthquake at shallow depths were recorded.

Volcanic tremors also have increased seismic energy compared to previously recorded episodes and ranged between three and 17 minutes in duration.

“Overall, seismic activity in the past month indicates increased magmatic and hydrothermal activity at shallow depths beneath TVI,” it said.

There were also changes in the main crater lake, such as recording a temperature high of 74.6°C and increase in acidity to pH 1.59 from a pH of 2.79 in January 2020. 

Phivolcs explained that increasing acidity is due to the “sustained volcanic gas input into the shallow hydrothermal system that feeds into the lake, signifying degassing of magma intruded at depth during the January 2020 eruption.”

The institute also observed a “very slow but steady inflation and/or expansion of the Taal region since the end of the 2020 eruption, at very much slower stabilized rates compared to deformation before and right after eruption.”

Microgravity changes across the Taal caldera were also recorded. 

Taal woke up from its decades-long slumber in Jan. 12, 2020, unleashing kilometers-high ash column and lava fountain the next day. The restive activity led to the evacuation of thousands living on the volcano island and high-risk areas, and destruction of houses and establishments in Batangas.

A year after the eruption, hundreds of displaced families are still seeking temporary shelters in evacuation centers.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 15, 2021 - 5:11pm

Get updates as Phivolcs issues warnings over activity in Taal Volcano. (Main photo by Philstar.com/Rosette Adel)

March 15, 2021 - 5:11pm

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology maintains Alert Level 2 status over the Taal Volcano on Monday as it recorded 252 volcanic earthquakes with 17 volcanic tremor episodes in the past 24 hours.

State volcanologists however say they haven't advised people living near the volcano to evacuate yet.

Under Alert Level 2, a volcano is seen under increased unrest. Phivolcs reminds the public that "sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island." The Filipino Connection/Marlon Luistro

March 9, 2021 - 8:23am

Alert Level 2 is raised over Taal Volcano after state volcanologists recorded 28 volcanic tremor episodes, four low frequency volcanic earthquakes and one hybrid earthquake in the past 24 hours.

Phivolcs says the raising of the alert status means that there is probable magnetic activity that may or may not lead to an eruption.

"At Alert Level 2, evacuation is not yet recommended. However, the public is reminded that Taal Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone and that entry into TVI, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, must remain strictly prohibited," Phivolcs says Tuesday morning.

February 17, 2021 - 3:58pm

State volcanologists warn of a possibility that Taal Volcano might have another phreatic explosion similar to what happened last year.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum says the possible explosion will only affect the volcano island.

Phivolcs has recorded 69 tremor episodes having durations of one to five minutes in the past 24-hour period, as of Wednesday morning. Alert Level 1 (abnormal) is raised over Taal Volcano, which means that "sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall, and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur."

February 16, 2021 - 3:10pm

Residents of Taal Volcano Island were evacuated following increased seismic activity in Taal Volcano.

The Philippine Coast Guard says it deployed water assets to the island to make advisory, inspection and fetch the people in the area and bring them to safety.

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.

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