An increase of up to 17, 141 tonnes of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emission daily has been recorded in Taal volcano, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has reported.
It said the latest figure recorded on August 7, surpassing the 12,125 tonnes last Aug. 3, is the highest since the volcano’s status was lowered to alert level 1 on 11 July.
Phivolcs said that, based on air parcel trajectory data, airborne volcanic gas is expected to drift to the general east to west direction of Taal Volcano Island (TVI).
An average of 6,041 SO2 flux tonnes per day has been recorded since July, an increase from the average of 1,289 tonnes per day between May and mid-July.
There is also visible increased degassing in the form of upwelling in the Main Crater Lake and voluminous steam-rich plume activity, and three volcanic tremors lasting nine minutes were recorded in the previous 24-hour observation period.
PHIVOLCS reminded the public that Taal Volcano is still under Alert Level 1, which means that the volcano is still in “abnormal condition.”
“Should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn of renewed unrest, the Alert Level may be raised back to Alert Level 2,” said the agency.
Sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfalls and expulsions of volcanic gas could threaten areas within TVI or Taal’s permanent danger zone, hence entering these areas remains strictly prohibited.
Phivolcs also advised local government units to continuously assess previously evacuated barangays around Taal Lake for damage and road conditions and to strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest by the volcano.
Residents near the volcano must observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, possible ashfall and minor earthquakes.
Aviation authorities, meanwhile, must advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano, said Phivolcs, as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and wind-remobilized ash may pose hazards to aircraft.
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