Phivolcs to use satellite imagery from USGS, NASA to evaluate Taal
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said they will be determining the alert status and condition of the Taal Volcano using satellite data and imagery from its partner international organizations.
Phivolcs said Thursday that they are already seeking assistance from its partners such as the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to acquire additional data from their satellite platforms.
“Ito pong datos na ito, siya rin po yung pwedeng gamitin para i-calculate ano po yung volume ng magma na pumasok,” said Bornas.
(We can also use these data to calculate the volume of magma inside.)
However, when asked if the volcano’s generally weaker recent eruptions could be a deceptive lull leading to a sudden eruption, Bornas said: “Talaga pong pwede yan.”
“Hindi ko po sinasabi na ibababa [ang alert status],” clarified Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of Phivolcs’ Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division.
(I am not saying that we are lowering it [the alert status].)
“Ang sinasabi ko po ay i-eevaluate natin dahil sa ngayon po ay lull period at kailangan po nating tignan kung ano po yung ibig sabihin nito,” she added.
(What I’m saying is we’ll evaluate because as of now, there is a lull period and we have to check what this means.)
She added that Phivolcs still has to evaluate whether the lull on Taal’s surface activity is temporary.
According to her, this could also be a sign that the volume of magma rising to the volcano’s edifice is increasing or that there is already a significant amount of magma waiting to erupt.
“Ito po kasing mga factors na ito ay wala pa tayong complete na datos. Kailangan pa po nating i-complete,” said Bornas.
(We don’t have complete data on these factors. We still need to complete our data.)
She added that Phivolcs already has an idea of the magma volume before Sunday’s eruption. However, Bornas admits their data is incomplete as four out of their five monitoring stations on Taal Volcano Island were compromised.
Maintaining the status quo
Since Tuesday, Phivolcs has observed that Taal’s eruptions have been continuous but generally weaker.
Despite this, Phivolcs said the volcano continues to manifest signs of a possible explosive eruption, such as continuous volcanic quakes, high sulfur dioxide emission and bulging.
In their Thursday morning bulletin, Phivolcs said the volcano spewed plumes 500 and 800 meters high at 6:17 a.m. and at 6:21 a.m., respectively.
— PHIVOLCS-DOST (@phivolcs_dost) January 16, 2020
Signs of magma’s further intrusion beneath the Taal’s edifice also continues to manifest, Phivolcs said.
From 5 a. m. Wednesday to 5 a. m. Thursday, Phivolcs recorded another 103 volcanic quakes, 14 of which were considered intense.
In addition, the amount of sulfur dioxide emitted by the volcano on Wednesday was measured at an average of 4,186 tons per day, higher than Tuesday’s 1,686 tons per day.
Phivolcs stressed that because of these signs, Taal Volcano remains at Alert Level 4, meaning a hazardous eruption is still possible within from hours to days.
Edited by MUF
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