NEWSFLASH! Taal volcano alert raised to Level 3, Philvolcs urges evacuation

TAAL VOLCANO file photo on recent explosion. (Photo by Nick Sagmit from Talisay, Batangas)

TAGAYTAY CITY – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs)  raised the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) to Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) on March 26 due to magmatic intrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions.

In a bulletin as of 8 a.m., Phivolcs reported that at around 7:22 a.m., the main crater generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst which was followed by nearly continuous phreatomagmatic activity that generated plumes 1500 meters, accompanied by volcanic earthquake and infrasound signals.

“Magmatic intrusion is the rise of magma into shallower levels of the volcano, which can cause further explosions as the magma can explode because of gases inside it or when the magma interacts groundwater in the shallower levels of the volcano,” said Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. .

Phivolcs strongly recommended that residents of Taal Volcano Island and the high-risk villages of Bilibinwang and Banyaga, Agoncillo and Boso-boso, Gulod, and eastern Bugaan East in Laurel, Batangas be evacuated due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should stronger eruptions subsequently occur.

The entire Taal Volcano Island is a permanent danger zone. Entry into the island as well as high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel must be prohibited.

All activities on Taal Lake should not be allowed at this time.

Communities around the Taal Lake shores are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify.

Civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying over Taal Volcano Island as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and pyroclastic density currents such as base surges may pose hazards to aircraft.

The volcano erupted on Jan. 12, 2020, two months before the Covid-19 pandemic, and caused widespread damage in several Batangas towns and Tagaytay City. Ashfall also reached as far as Metro Manila

In July 2021, at least five eruptions were recorded, with one raising the alert status to Level 3.