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: July 11, 2021 - 9:45am

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

July 11, 2021 - 9:45am

State volcanologists record 75 volcanic earthquakes from Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours as of 5 a.m. on July 11.

Phivolcs says these include 61 volcanic tremors that lasted from one to 25 minutes with  weak background tremor.

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano.

July 9, 2021 - 12:16pm

Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas has issued a memorandum restricting leisure travel in high-risk areas located within the 7-kilometer radius of the Taal Volcano crater.

In Memorandum Circular No. 01 Series of 2021, leisure travel to Barangays Banyaga and Bilibinwang in Agoncillo town and Barangays Buso-buso, Gulod and Bugaan East in the town of Laurel shall not be allowed. 

Prohibited activities include staycations, going to a recreational area, resort, camping, sunbathing, pool swimming, picknicking, island hopping, group water activities, partying and merriment events and other similar activities. — The STAR/Arnell Ozaeta

July 4, 2021 - 4:40pm

State volcanologists record the highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide from Taal Volcano.

As of Sunday afternoon, Phivolcs log at an average of 22,628 tonnes/day and a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes.

"In view of the above, DOST-PHIVOLCS is reminding the public that Alert Level 3 prevails over Taal Volcano and that current SO2 parameters indicate ongoing magmatic extrusion at the Main Crater that may further drive succeeding explosions," Phivolcs says in an advisory.

July 4, 2021 - 9:07am

Alert Level 3 is still raised over Taal Volcano as Phivolcs records 31 volcanic earthquakes and weak background tremor in the past 24 hours.

Entering Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays Agoncillo and Laurel, as well as sailing through Taal Lake, is still prohibited.

Phivolcs warns that pyroclastic density currents or base surge, volcanic tsunami and ashfall are possible.

July 2, 2021 - 11:49am

The government has activated Joint Task Force Taal to help with evacuation and potential relief operations, the Palace says Friday, June 2.

Police and Coast Guard units have also been put on alert for humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

"The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 4-A is on heightened alert and has stockpiles of relief support consisting of food packs amounting to P1.4 million and non-food items worth P11 million," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also says.

"We ask residents in the areas surrounding the volcano lake to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures, cooperate with their local authorities should the need for evacuation arise," he also says.

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