No downtrend in Taal Volcano activity: Solidum

No downtrend in Taal Volcano activity: Solidum

MANILA – There is no downtrend in the overall condition of Taal Volcano, which has been under Alert Level 2 (increased unrest) since March 9, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum Jr. said Wednesday.

For the past 24 hours, Phivolcs has recorded 102 volcanic earthquakes, including 86 volcanic tremor events, caused by movements or eruptions of magma from the volcano.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, Solidum acknowledged that the earthquake activity in Taal Volcano has been variable in the past days.

“The varying number of volcanic quakes are due to the non-continuous magma and gas movement,” he said.

He reiterated that Phivolcs is also looking at other parameters in determining the appropriate alert level for a volcano.

“The sulfur dioxide gas has been persistently high because of continued degassing of magma at shallow levels beneath the crater. The ground deformation, although slow, is continuous as well. Hence there is no downward trend in the overall condition of Taal,” Solidum explained.

Activity at the main crater was dominated by the upwelling of hot volcanic fluids in its lake which generated 300-meter tall but weak plumes for the past 24 hours. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission averaged 3,256 tonnes/day on May 18.

“Taal Volcano continues to manifest increased unrest, and Alert Level 2 is maintained over the volcano,” Solidum said.

Meanwhile, Phivolcs reiterated that sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, minor ashfall, and lethal accumulations of volcanic gas could threaten areas within and around the Taal Volcano Island (TVI), Taal’s permanent danger zone (PDZ).

Entry into TVI, especially in the vicinities of the main crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, must be strictly prohibited, according to Phivolcs.

It also advised local government units to assess and strengthen preparedness of previously evacuated barangays around Taal Lake in case of renewed unrest. (PNA)

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