Saturday, January 18, 2020

Intense quakes, seismic activity could mean Taal Volcano eruption — Phivolcs

State volcanologists on Saturday morning said that continuous volcanic earthquakes and other seismic activity could be signs of an impending eruption of the Taal Volcano. Since the volcano's phreatic (steam-driven) eruption on Sunday afternoon, a total of 666 volcanic earthquakes were recorded by the Philippine Seismic Network. one hundred seventy-four of these were felt, registering magnitudes 1.5 to 4.1. and ranging from Intensity I (scarcely perceptible) to Intensity V (strong).

Between 5:00 a.m. today and yesterday, 32 volcanic earthquakes were plotted with magnitudes between 1.5 to 3.3.

Meanwhile, the Taal Volcano Network tallied 876 volcanic earthquakes including six tremor events and 20 low-frequency earthquakes. “Such intense seismic activity likely signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” state volcanology bureau Phivolcs said in its 8:00 a.m. volcano bulletin on Saturday.

Phivolcs also reiterated that the Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent) is still in effect meaning "total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk areas as identified in the hazard maps within the 14-km radius from Taal Main Crater and along the Pansipit River Valley where fissuring has been observed." For the past 24 hours, the volcano's main crater has steadily emitted steam. It has also seen infrequent weak explosions that formed white to dirty white ash plumes as tall as 600 meters and dispersed ash southwest. “Civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid the airspace around Taal Volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column pose hazards to aircraft,” the state volcanology bureau said.

It also advised residents to continue protecting themselves from the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall.