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Philvocs: ‘Still very high’ possibility of Taal Volcano explosive eruption

/ 03:42 PM January 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The possibility of a hazardous explosive eruption of the Taal Volcano has gone down to 30 percent, but this is still very high, especially within the 14-kilometer radius danger zone, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Thursday.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. was asked in a press conference to confirm if the institute was the one that relayed the figure to Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas on the probability of a huge eruption of the Taal Volcano

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“When we briefed him last Sunday, yes, just to give him an idea of how things can be managed. That is still very high within the 14-km distance,” Solidum said in a press briefing.

Solidum explained that the probability was computed based on the monitoring parameters of Phivolcs, as well as from the opinion of experts, historical data reference, and deposits studied by state volcanologists.

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Initially, the probability of an explosive eruption was placed at 70 percent when Taal Volcano started a phreatic or steam-driven eruption on January 12, according to Mariton Bornas, chief of Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division.

When alert level 4 (hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours or days) was first hoisted,  the probability reached its peak at 100 percent, said Bornas.

Solidum, however, stressed that the condition of the volcano can still change.

“Remember nandyan na ‘yung magma sa ilalim so ang tanong dyan tutuloy pa ba siya or titigil muna siya, at kung titigil siya anong mangyayari sa volcano (Remember that the magma is already there, so the question is if it will still rise or not, and if it won’t, what will happen to the volcano)?” he said.

But he also explained that based on the history of Taal Volcano, eruptions can happen in between months or years.

As of Thursday, the release of sulfur dioxide from the volcano has been “erratic” but in general is decreasing, said Solidum.

“Anong ibig sabihin nyan? Pwedeng hindi na masyadong nag-dedegas ang magma or di kaya ay nababara ‘yung gas sa loob ng bulkan (What does this mean? It is possible that the magma is not producing gas that much or the gas is trapped inside the volcano),” said the Phivolcs official.

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Volcanic earthquakes have likewise gone down, according to Solidum.

Amid unpredictable activities of the Taal Volcano, Solidum also allayed fears of netizens that magma may rise from fissures or large cracks on roads in the province.

“Base sa mga datos, ‘yung magma po ay doon nagsusupply mismo sa Taal Volcano Island (Based on our data, the magma will only supply to the Taal Volcano Island),” he said.

Based on its 8 a.m. bulletin, Phivolcs said the activity in the main crater of the Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours has been characterized by weak to moderate emission of white steam-laden plumes 50 to 500 meters high that drifted southwest. Sulfur dioxide emission was measured at an average of 141 tons per day.

A total of 731 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded since 1 p.m. on Jan. 12, according to the Philippine Seismic Network.

As of Thursday, a total of 81,067 families or 316,989 individuals have been affected by the eruption. Of this number, 39,811 families or 147,873 individuals are temporarily staying in around 500 evacuations in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) region.

Edited by MUF
Inquirer calls for support for the victims of Taal volcano eruption
Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief to the families affected by the recent eruption of Taal volcano.
Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No: 007960018860.
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TAGS: Batangas, Phivolcs, Renato Solidum, Taal Volcano
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