FILE PHOTO: Taal Volcano, shown in this photo taken from Tagaytay City in May, remains under alert level 1 or low level of unrest. Volcanic smog or vog from Taal has worried residents of towns and cities surrounding the volcano in Batangas due to its impact on their health. Photo by Rem Zamora
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Taal Volcano posted on Thursday its highest sulfur dioxide emission this year.
“A total of 11,499 tonnes (10,431.72 metric tons)/day of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO₂ gas emission from the Taal Main Crater was measured today, 09 November 2023. This is the highest recorded SO₂ emission from Taal for the year, ” it said in an advisory.
The second-highest sulfur dioxide emission of Taal was recorded on October 12 at 8856.97 metric tons (9,762 tonnes).
READ: Taal Volcano logs highest sulfur dioxide emission
Phivolcs warned that vog may form due to prevailing weather conditions over Taal.
“No volcanic smog or vog over Taal Caldera was observed by visual monitors throughout the day. Nonetheless, PAGASA wind forecasts indicate a probable weakening of wind later in the day and tomorrow, 10 November 2023, which may lead to potential SO2 accumulation and vog formation over the Taal Region,” Phivolcs said.
It likewise warned that vog exposure may cause health risks, especially for people with respiratory diseases, pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
READ: Taal Volcano Island is ‘healing’ after 2020 eruption–DENR
Phivolcs advised people susceptible to vog to limit outside exposure by staying indoors and closing doors and windows, and to protect themselves by using N95 masks.
Currently, Alert Level 1 is raised over Taal Volcano. Under Alert Level 1, steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, and minor ashfall events are possible.
Phivolcs further encouraged the local government to prohibit entry into the volcano’s permanent danger zone and the vicinity of the Main Crater and Daang Kastila fissure, and to monitor vog exposure for hazard response.