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No historical account of toxic gas reaching beyond Taal Volcano Island — Phivolcs

/ 04:30 PM January 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — There is no historical account to show that toxic gas from Taal Volcano has reached beyond the boundaries of Taal Volcano Island, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Tuesday.

“Meron pong mga cases na kung saan yung volcanic ash marami po siyang kasamang volcanic gas,” said Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of Phivolcs’ Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division.

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(There have been cases where the volcanic ash contained a lot of volcanic gas.)

However, based on records of past eruptions, this is not true for Taal Volcano.

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“Wala naman po kaming nakikitang volcanic sublimates doon sa ejecta as of now,” said Bornas.

(We don’t see volcanic sublimates in the ejecta as of now.)

She added that Phivolcs has not encountered cases of ash dumped from the Taal Volcano on nearby areas containing toxic gases.

However, Bornas gave a possible scenario: “Kung pwede pong magkaroon ng sublimates ng volcanic gas doon, maaari po itong makasama kung masyado pong malaki ang volume ng ash na madedeposit doon.”

(If ever there are sublimates of volcanic gas there, this can be harmful if a large volume of ash is deposited there.)

According to Bornas, during Taal Volcano’s January 1911 eruption, historical accounts only mentioned of ash raining on Volcano Island but none in nearby areas.

“Yung malalaking eruptions po dati o historical eruptions, meron pong kasamang sulfur sublimates yung ejecta, pero hindi po namin yun nakita sa malayo,” explained Bornas. “Sa paligid lang ng caldera siya na-preserve yung deposito.”

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(In past big or historical eruptions, the ejecta contained sulfur sublimates, but we didn’t see that in nearby areas. The deposits were only preserved around the caldera.)

As such, the harmful gas deposits in the spewed ashes only affected the plants and animals on Taal Volcano Island.

However, Bornas said they cannot say for certain that toxic volcanic gases from Taal Volcano will not breach Taal Volcano Island should an eruption takes place this time.

“Ash po kasi mabilis po yang mabulok o matangay ng tubig kaya mahirap po sabihin kung umaabot po yung mga ganun sa malayo sa bulkan,” explained Bornas.

(Ash is easily washed away by water, so it’s hard to say if they can reach areas far away from the volcano.)

She added: “Hindi ko po masabi na hindi maaaring mangyari sa Taal kasi as far as my research, wala po akong naeengkwentro na account na nakasama po sa agriculture o sa tubig yung pagputok ng Taal,” saying that accounts of past Taal Volcano eruptions are “very general.”

(I can’t say for sure that it won’t happen to Taal because as far as my research is concerned, I haven’t encountered an account saying the Taal eruption harmed agriculture or bodies of water.)

Edited by MUF
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TAGS:  Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division, Ma. Antonia Bornas, Phivolcs, Taal eruption
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