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The volcano in Batangas had been under Alert Level 2 since April 9, or for around three months. Before that, it was at Alert Level 3 for two weeks.
Why the downgrade?
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in a bulletin on Monday that it observed an “overall decrease in the level of monitoring parameters.”
- The daily average of volcanic earthquakes dropped from seven per day between January 1 and May 31 to zero since June 13. This means that “degassing and rock-fracturing processes related to magmatic activity beneath [Taal Volcano Island] have abated” and that the possibilities of magma rising to the main crater have “significantly decreased.”
- The ground deformation of the Taal Caldera and Taal Volcano Island edifices stabilized.
- Sulfur dioxide emissions averaged 1,214 tons per day between May and July, with the latest emission rates falling to 237 tons per day.
- The emission of steam-rich plumes became weak. “The last significant activities from the main crater were phreatomagmatic bursts” on February 2 and 10, and on March 26.
Despite the downgrade, Phivolcs warned the public that Taal Volcano is still in an “abnormal condition.”
Alert Level 1 “should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared,” the agency said.
Under Alert Level 1, the following may still occur:
- sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions
- volcanic earthquakes
- minor ashfall
- lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas
If Phivolcs observes increasing unrest, Taal Volcano could be raised to Alert Level 2 again. If volcanic activity declines further, it may be lowered to Alert Level 0, the lowest.
Phivolcs reiterated that entry into Taal Volcano Island “must remain strictly prohibited.” Residents of high-risk areas in Batangas should also stay vigilant and ready “for a quick and organized evacuation” in case needed. – Rappler.com