Taal Volcano continues to emit high levels of sulfur dioxide

TAAL VOLCANO continues to emit sulfur dioxide as earthquakes are recorded. (Photo by Nick Sagmit from Talisay, Batangas)

TAGAYTAY CITY – Warning to those residing near the Taal Volcano and those wanting to visit Tagaytay City and other scenic, historic and cultural spots around the Taal lake.

This as the volcano continues to emit high levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) for the past 24 hours, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

An average of 3,755 tons of SO2 was recorded on July 14. The figure, however, is lower compared to the average 4,184 tons and 6,134 tons recorded last July 13 and July 12, respectively.

Prolonged exposure to SO2 may cause sore throat and difficulty in breathing, according to the Department of Health.

The steam-rich plumes reached 1,800 meters in height on July 14.

At least 17 volcanic earthquakes caused by movements or eruptions of magma from the volcano were also recorded for the past 24 hours. These included 16 volcanic tremors lasting from 1 to 36 minutes, and one low frequency volcanic quake.

Although few, the volcanic earthquakes recorded are slightly higher than the six volcanic quakes the previous day.

Alert level 3 (magmatic unrest) is maintained over the Taal Volcano, as there is magmatic intrusion at its main crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions.

The Phivolcs earlier recommended complete evacuation in the Taal Volcano Island (TVI), Taal Lake, and villages in the Batangas towns of Agoncillo (Banyaga, Bilibinwang), and Laurel (Gulod, Boso-Boso, Lakeshore Bugaan East) due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.
Over 1,200 families from high-risk areas in Batangas are currently in evacuation centers due to Taal Volcano’s restiveness.There are at least 27 evacuation sites catering to at least 1,252 families or 4,496 individuals, according to the Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office data.

Apart from those in evacuation centers, some 2,531 families or around 8,895 individuals are staying with their relatives in other municipalities.

There were no reported fatalities, and no buildings and houses were damaged due to the volcano’s activities.

Taal Volcano has been under alert level 3 (magmatic unrest) since July 1, as there is magmatic intrusion at its main crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions.

Last July 1, Taal Volcano main crater generated a short-lived dark phreatomagmatic plume 1 kilometer-high.

Phivolcs reiterated that entry into the TVI and the high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel must be prohibited due to the hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should strong eruptions occur.

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