The alert level for Taal on Wednesday was 3, meaning a “hazardous eruption in weeks” could be on the table. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) warned today (January 29) of eruptive activity at the volcano’s main crater.
After Taal’s eruptions subsided earlier this month on Luzon Island, Philippines, hundreds of earthquakes have rocked the volcano.
At midnight GMT today (8am local time), the Philippine Seismic Network (PSN) recorded a total of 760 earthquakes since Taal erupted on January 12.
At least 177 of these quakes peaked between magnitude 1.2 and magnitude 4.1.
A series of low-frequency earthquakes tracked by the Taal Volcano Network (TVN) suggests the volcano is not quite ready to go dormant just yet.
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In the 24 hours since the PHIVOLCS update, 123 volcanic earthquakes rocked the Philippines volcano, including there low-frequency tremors.
PHIVOLCS said: “These earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice that could lead to erupting activity at the Main Crater.”
A 4.3-mile-wide (7km) exclusion zone extends around the volcano, which sits in the centre of Taal Lake.
Residents were warned against hazards such as earthquakes, weak eruptions and ashfall.
PHIVOLCS has also warned of lethal volcanic gas explosions, which can still occur around the volcano and Taal Lake.
On Wednesday morning the volcano was seen belching small clouds of dirty smoke and steam.
These earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology
The plumes were reaching heights between 1,968ft and 2,624ft (600m and 800m) and drifting towards the northeast.
The volcano was also releasing about 70 tons (64 tonnes) of toxic sulphur dioxide (SO2), which can cause irritation and breathing problems if inhaled.
PHIVOLCS said: “DOST-PHIVOLCS recommends that entry into the Taal Volcano Island as well as into areas over Taal Lake and communities west of the island within a 7km radius from the Main Crater must be strictly prohibited.
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“Local government units are advised to assess areas outside the 7km radius for damages and road accessibilities and to strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest.
“People are also advised to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall and minor earthquakes.”
Communities living alongside active rivers in the region were warned against the threat of volcanic lahars.
Lahars are dangerous mudflows and streams of volcanic debris that can travel at fast speeds down canyons and rivers.
On January 27, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said more than 380,000 people have been affected by Taal’s eruptions.
More than 308,000 people sought refuge in local shelters and evacuations points.
Taal volcano erupted first erupted on January 12 this year, when a steam-driven blast tore through the volcano.
The volcano then erupted again on January 13, spewing jets of molten rock into the air.
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