Taal Volcano

Phivolcs records 9 Taal Volcano phreatomagmatic bursts

Acor Arceo
Phivolcs records 9 Taal Volcano phreatomagmatic bursts

TAAL VOLCANO. Members of the Philippine Coast Guard patrol along Taal Volcano in Batangas on February 19, 2021.

Rappler

The phreatomagmatic bursts, which occur within a 13-hour period, produce steam-rich plumes 400 meters to 900 meters tall

MANILA, Philippines – State volcanologists recorded a series of nine “weak” phreatomagmatic bursts from the main crater of Taal Volcano in Batangas province between 3:50 pm on Saturday, January 29, and 4:49 am on Sunday, January 30.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its 8 am bulletin on Sunday that the phreatomagmatic bursts “produced steam-rich plumes 400 meters to 900 meters tall,” which were “detected by visual and thermal cameras around Taal Lake.”

“These events were very short-lived, lasting only 10 seconds to 2 minutes and produced only traces in the seismic record but were accompanied by distinct infrasound signals,” added Phivolcs.

Upwelling or the rising of hot volcanic fluids in Taal Lake also generated plumes 2,000 meters tall.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission remains high, averaging 10,036 tons per day on Saturday. Back in October 2021, it had hit an all-time high of 25,456 tons per day.

SO2 is a major gas component of magma. A high level of SO2 indicates magma is relatively nearer a volcano’s surface.

Phivolcs also said at 8 am on Sunday that in the past 24-hour period, the Taal Volcano Network recorded 31 volcanic earthquakes. These include 16 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, 14 volcanic tremors lasting 1 to 3 minutes, and 1 hybrid earthquake.

Taal Volcano has been under Alert Level 2 since July 23, 2021, downgraded to that level after more than three weeks at Alert Level 3.

The highest possible level in the system is Alert Level 5, which would mean a hazardous eruption is already in progress.

Under Alert Level 2, Phivolcs warned that the following could occur:

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

The agency reiterated its recommendations to keep Taal Volcano Island off-limits and to prohibit “extended stays” on Taal Lake.

It also reminded local government units to “continuously assess and strengthen the preparedness of previously evacuated barangays around Taal Lake.” – 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.