Phivolcs warns more Taal Volcano activity in the coming days

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Tuesday, January 14, said the Taal Volcano shows no signs of slowing down, with its ongoing ash eruptions continuing to trigger volcanic earthquakes.

“As we speak, there are still earthquake events so we expect more activities in the next few days,” said Philvocs chief Renato Solidum.

SCARY SIGHT. Flashes of lightning illuminate the ash plume spewed by Taal Volcano on Sunday, January 12. Taal Volcano’s bursts of lightning and monster clouds of ash have drawn crowds of gaping observers, but also prompted thousands to flee from its fury. Large eruptions sometimes put on a stunning display of lightning strikes that illuminate the massive cloud of ash surrounding them. | photo by Boy Josue

The temblors will persist as magma continues to move up the crater, causing more volcanic explosions, he said.

As of Tuesday, a total of 212 volcanic earthquakes in the Taal area have been recorded, 81 of which were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I to V.

“Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” Philvocs said.

Solidum also warned of the threat that earthquakes pose to the houses situated in nearby areas.

“The danger from the earthquake events would be possible landslides on steep slopes like those on the caldera wall beneath Tagaytay Ridge. Houses with [a] thick cover of ash might be affected by shaking as [the] roof is heavier,” he said.

He added that Taal volcano’s  ongoing eruption generated “500-meter-tall lava fountains topped by dark gray steam-laden plumes reaching approximately two kilometers tall that dispersed ash to the southwest and west of the main crater.”

On Sunday, January 12, the Taal Volcano spewed ash up to nine miles (14 kilometers) into the air.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert level to four, signifying an “explosive eruption” that could happen in the coming hours or days.

The province of Batangas declared a state of calamity on Monday. Volcanic ash spread not only in Batangas but also in other parts of the Calabarzon region, as well as in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

Flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were halted from Sunday evening to Monday morning, only partially resuming Monday afternoon.

“Civil aviation authorities must advise aircraft to avoid the airspace around Taal Volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column pose hazards to aircraft,” said state volcanologists.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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