MANILA – At least five phreatomagmatic bursts were recorded in the Taal Volcano on Wednesday, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum, Jr. said.
These were all short-lived phreatomagmatic eruptions lasting from one to seven minutes, Solidum told the Philippine News Agency.
Data he sent bared that these eruptions occurred at 5:18 a.m. (2 minutes), 8:46 a.m. (7 minutes), 9:15 a.m. (2 minutes), 9:26 a.m. (5 minutes), and 11:56 a.m. (slightly less than 1 minute).
The first two eruptions both produced 300 meters of grayish column, while the third eruption generated a 700-meter high dark gray column.
The fourth and fifth eruptions produced dark gray column, 500 meters and 200 meters in height, respectively.
“Phreatomagmatic eruptions are caused by the interaction of magma and water. Eruptions normally consist of multiple explosive events, the interval of which may vary,” Solidum said.
Shortly before noon Wednesday, Phivolcs reported that Taal Volcano “weakly erupted” at 8:47 a.m. Solidum explained that eruption is “weak” if the eruption column is not high, like the ones reported above.
“One kilometer is short. The height of the eruption column in January 2020 was around 15 kilometers,” he said.
Solidum said that small phreatomagmatic eruption, together with the continued emission of high amounts of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and the increasing number of earthquakes indicate a continued magmatic activity that may lead to larger explosions or phreatomagmatic eruptions.
Fifty-five volcanic earthquakes caused by movements or eruptions of magma from the volcano, and SO2 emission that averaged 7,560 tonnes/day were recorded in Taal for the past 24 hours.
Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) is maintained over the Taal Volcano. This means that magma extruding from the main crater could drive explosive eruptions.
In a public briefing aired on PTV, Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said this year’s eruption is different from last year.
“Last year’s (Taal Volcano) eruption was strong. This year, the eruption last July 1 lasted for only about 5 minutes,” Mandanas said.
He, however, acknowledged that the volcano continues to generate high plumes. The other parameters, such as the SO2 emission has been decreasing, but this does not mean that the volcanic activity has ended, Mandanas emphasized.
“We have taken care of this. We have prepared the funds. We thank President Rodrigo Duterte for releasing PHP132 million fund for our front-liners,” he said.
He added that via Senator Bong Go’s “Malasakit” program, 300 family tents were already released. Batangas province, Mandanas, said, also has 600 tents.
Food supply is also continuous, he said. (PNA)