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Taal Alert Level 3: Is An Eruption Similar to 2020 Likely?

Phivolcs explains what's happening at the volcano.
by Pia Regalado
Jul 2, 2021
Photo/s: Screenshot/Phivolcs

Taal ejected a one-kilometer high cloud of steam and ash in a five-minute long episode that drew comparisons with its last major eruption in January 2020. Phivolcs said Friday the volcano appeared to be releasing pressure, which lowers the possibility of a hazardous eruption.

As the volcano acted up late Thursday, four more short bursts of steam and magma occurred after the initial eruption between 6:26 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. These lasted no more than two minutes each with plumes as high as 200 meters, Phivolcs said. 

State volcanologists also recorded 29 volcanic earthquakes, including one explosion-type earthquake, Phivolcs said in its daily advisory Friday.

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"Noong January 2020, bago nito, walang masyadong gas na lumalabas ibig sabihin naiipon ang pressure sa ilalim. Pero ngayong taon napakaraming gas na nailabas kaya hindi masyado pressurized ang ilalim ng bulkan kaya ganyan lang po kalaki ang kanyang sinabog kahapon," Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum told GMA News.

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Before Thursday's incident, the Taal Volcano spewed steam and sulfur dioxide as high as 20 kilometers above sea level. The volcanic smog (vog) has reached Metro Manila and Central Luzon provinces. For reference, Taal is some 326 kilometers away from the northern tip of Zambales, westernmost province of Central Luzon.

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So far, the magmatic activity at the Taal Volcano is slow, Solidum said. Before the eruption 2020, magma or molten rocks moved faster, causing the eruption.

"Tulad po ng mga nakaraang historical eruption ng Taal, kapag ganyan lang po kabagal, matapos ang isang pagsabog, puwedeng mahina-hina ang activity na kanyang ipakita."

Taal Volcano was placed under Alert Level 3 indicating magmatic unrest on Thursday, one notch higher from Level 2 (increasing unrest). The highest warning, Level 5, indicates that an eruption is ongoing.

Residents living near the Taal Caldera started evacuating Thursday afternoon following the eruption. About 345 families, or 1,392 individuals, have been displaced from at least 13 barangays in Taal, San Nicolas, Laurel, Agoncillo, Tanauan, and Balete, said Mark Timbal, spokesperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

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