Taal Volcano

Phivolcs warns of Taal volcanic smog, acid rain as sulfur dioxide stays high

Acor Arceo
Phivolcs warns of Taal volcanic smog, acid rain as sulfur dioxide stays high

DEGASSING. A steam-rich plume degassed from the Taal main crater is captured by the Phivolcs remote station in Cuenca, Batangas, at 9:11 am on August 12, 2022.

Phivolcs

A total of 13,572 tons per day of sulfur dioxide from Taal Volcano is recorded on Thursday, August 11, producing 'significant' volcanic smog. Acid rain is another hazard.

MANILA, Philippines – Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission from Taal Volcano again surged on Thursday, August 11, prompting state volcanologists to warn of volcanic smog and acid rain.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said on Friday, August 12, that a total of 13,572 tons per day of SO2 had been recorded on Thursday.

The high SO2 emission “produced significant volcanic smog or vog” over the Taal Caldera, which thickened between 9 am and 2 pm on Thursday.

Phivolcs added that residents of the following areas in Batangas province reported a “sulfurous stench”:

  • Banyaga, Agoncillo
  • Poblacion 5, Boso-boso, and Gulod, Laurel
  • Poblacion, Talisay

Vog can irritate the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract. People with respiratory or heart ailments, the elderly, pregnant women, and children may be particularly vulnerable to its effects.

Phivolcs previously warned of SO2 spikes on August 3, at 12,125 tons per day, and just last Sunday, August 7, at 17,141 tons per day.

Since July 15, SO2 emission has averaged 7,818 tons per day, much higher than the average of 1,289 tons per day recorded between May and mid-July.

SO2 is a major gas component of magma.

Phivolcs also said degassing has increased since the start of August, as seen in the upwelling of volcanic fluids in the Main Crater Lake and the “voluminous” steam-rich plumes.

On Thursday night, the steam-rich plumes rose 2,800 meters or 2.8 kilometers above Taal Volcano Island.

Acid rain

In addition to vog, acid rain “can be generated during periods of rainfall and volcanic gas emission over areas where the plume disperses,” Phivolcs warned.

The agency said acid rain can damage crops and affect metal roofs of houses and buildings.

Crop damage was reported in Cabuyao City, Laguna, last Monday, August 8.

There were also 5 shallow volcanic tremors lasting 3 to 8 minutes in the latest observation period.

Taal Volcano has been under Alert Level 1 since July 11. 

Under Alert Level 1, these are possible:

  • sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions
  • volcanic earthquakes
  • minor ashfall
  • lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas

If the unrest escalates further, Taal Volcano could be raised back to Alert Level 2. – Rappler.com

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Acor Arceo

Acor Arceo is the head of copy and editorial standards at Rappler. Trained in both online and TV newsrooms, Acor ensures consistency in editorial standards across all sections and also supervises Rappler’s coverage of disasters.