Taal Volcano still on Alert Level 1 as Phivolcs marks ‘ongoing low-level activity’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has observed “ongoing low-level activity” in Taal Volcano in Batangas province and said the volcano stays on Alert Level 1.
In an advisory on Friday evening, Phivolcs said “a relatively weak and shallow but continuous volcanic tremor generated by the Daang Kastila fissure” was recorded by all 15 seismic stations of the Taal Volcano Network since 6:35 a.m., June 2.
The tremor came with heightened thermal anomalies on the northern portion and upwelling of volcanic fluids in the Taal Main Crater Lake, it added.
Phivolcs also pointed out a rise in sulfur dioxide emissions in the last two weeks.
Between May 22 and June 1, the average emissions stood at 5,360 tonnes a day – a notable increase from less than 3,000 tonnes a day between April 1 and May 21.
State volcanologists further marked a “pronounced inflation of the southwest Volcano Island since the fourth week of May 2023 following a longer phase of deflation on this sector.”
“These parameters indicate that shallow hydrothermal activity driven by a new phase of magma degassing at depth is currently taking place at Taal Volcano,” Phivolcs said.
Although there had been an observed increase in its activity, Phivolcs reiterated that Taal Volcano will still be under Alert Level 1.
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“It is still in abnormal condition and should not be interpreted to have ceased unrest nor ceased the threat of eruptive activity,” it said.
Phivolcs said Alert Level 2 may be hoisted over Taal Volcano should the low-level activity worsen or if changes in the monitored activity show “forewarn of increasing unrest.”
Under Alert Level 1, Taal Volcano may have “sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall, and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas,” according to Phivolcs.
Taal Volcano has been on Alert Level 1 since July 11, 2022.
Phivolcs firmly warned the public against entering the Taal Volcano Island and its permanent danger zone, especially near the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure.
“Local government units are advised to continuously assess previously evacuated barangays around Taal Lake for damage and road accessibilities and to strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest,” it noted.
Phivolcs also urged the public to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, potential ashfall, and minor earthquakes.
Flying aircrafts close to the Taal Volcano are also banned due to hazards like airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explanations and wind-remobilized ash, it added.