OCD to Batangas folk: Stay alert amid Taal activity
Residents in communities surrounding Taal Volcano in Batangas province were asked to take precautions after the volcano exhibited increased activity on Wednesday, August 3.
The warning from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region came after the volcano emitted higher level of sulfur dioxide (SO2), an increased degassing visible in the form of upwelling in the main crater lake and steam-rich plume in the past three days.
“Communities within and around the TVI (Taal Volcano Island) are advised to be cautious of this high SO2 emissions and ensure protection from its effect,” said Maria Theresa Escolano, chief of the OCD and disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) officer in Calabarzon, on Wednesday.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), in a bulletin posted at 5 a.m. on Thursday, reported that Taal Volcano released a total of 12,125 metric tons of volcanic SO2 on Wednesday, its highest level of emission since its status was lowered to alert level 1 on July 11.
Phivolcs noted that Taal’s SO2 emission since July 15 averaged at 4,952 metric tons a day, an increase from the average of 1,289 metric tons daily between May and mid-July.
Taal also recorded on Wednesday nine low-frequency events that included tremors lasting from 8 minutes to 12 minutes, considered to be “more than the baseline level of volcanic earthquakes,” Phivolcs said.
“The Batangas Provincial DRRM council, the local DRRM councils of previously affected LGUs (local government units) and the communities around TVI, especially those communities previously evacuated, are advised to continuously be vigilant, and closely monitor the situation and strengthen preparedness measures in case of renewed unrest,” Escolano said.
Volcanic smog, or vog, was also observed in areas around the volcano. Residents of Laurel town in Batangas and Tagaytay City in Cavite province, which overlooks the volcano and lake, reported stench of sulfur in their villages.
State seismologists said that while Taal’s alert level had been lowered, this did not mean that the volcano no longer posed any danger.
“Alert level 1 means that the volcano is still in abnormal condition and should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared,” Phivolcs said.
“Should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest, the alert level may be raised back to alert level 2,” it added. —DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.
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