Alert Level 4 remains despite reduced volcanic activities in Taal
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Wednesday retained Taal Volcano’s status at Alert Level 4, despite the reduced sulfur dioxide emissions and fewer and weaker volcanic earthquakes monitored in the area.
This means a hazardous eruption is still possible within hours to days.
“Hindi porke’t bumaba ang sulfur dioxide (SO2) ay safe na tayo dahil pwedeng nababarahan lang ang mga labasan ng SO2,” Phivolcs chief science research specialist Maria Antonio Bornas said in a press conference on Wednesday.
(Even though the sulfur dioxide emissions decreased, it doesn’t mean that we are safe already because this could mean that the passage of sulfur dioxide is just blocked.)
“Significantly weaker yung mga earthquakes compared before. Itong mga earthquakes na ito ay unti-unti na silang nag-diminish pati ‘yung mga low-frequency events pero hindi ibig sabihin ay kampante na tayo,” she added.
(The earthquakes are significantly weaker compared before. These earthquakes are already diminishing also the low-frequency events but it doesn’t mean that we can be relieved already.)
In Phivolcs’ 8 a.m. bulletin, the sulfur dioxide emitted by the Taal volcano was measured at an average of 153 tons each day from the average of 344 ton daily. The highest recorded sulfur dioxide average was on Jan. 13 at 5,299 tons per day.
Meanwhile, only six volcanic earthquakes were monitored by Phivolcs on the Philippine Seismic Network from 5 a.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 21) to 6 a.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 22), the magnitudes of which were measured at 1.5 to 2.4, with no intensities.
A total of 481 volcanic earthquakes were monitored at the Taal Volcano Network including eight low-frequency earthquakes in the past 24 hours.
Phivolcs must observe a “continuous downward trend” of the activities in Taal Volcano before it can lower the alert level status over the volcano, Bornas explained.
“Kung patuloy ang downtrend ng mga monitoring parameters, ibababa naman natin ang alert level, after masiguro natin na ang probabilities of eruption ay mababa na,” Bornas said.
(If the downward trend on monitoring parameters continues, we will lower the alert level, when we are sure that the probabilities of eruption are low.)
“Ine-evaluate natin ‘yung probabilities na magdi-diminish ‘yung activity. Kapag ito ay tuloy tuloy ang trend, mag-i-stand down tayo sa next alert level,” she added.
(We are evaluating the probabilities that the Taal Volcano’s activities will diminish. If this is continuous, we will stand down the alert level.)
However, even though Phivolcs downgrades the alert level, this doesn’t mean that residents near Taal Volcano can all go back to their homes, Bornas said.
“Hindi po ibig sabihin na pwede nang pabalikin lahat. We will not recommend that. Mayroon pong pwedeng bumalik pero definitely mayroong hindi po pwede bumalik,” she said.
(It doesn’t mean that all residents can go back. We will not recommend that. There are some that can go back but definitely there are people who can’t go back.)
“Hindi po nangangahulugan nito na pwede na tayong magrelax. Ang kailangan gawin ng ating mga kababayan na nadisplace na babalik pag tayo ay naglower ng alert ay dapat po sa araw araw, oras, handa po lumikas in a moment’s notice,” Bornas added.
(This doesn’t mean that we can relax already. Displaced residents who will choose to go back one we lower the alert level should be on the lookout and be always ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.)
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