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Taal Alert Level 3 up: Hazardous eruptions feared

John Henry Dodson

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A PHREATIC explosion from the Taal volcano as seen from the town of Tagaytay in Cavite province, southwest of Manila sends an ash column to the sky Sunday afternoon. AFP

The Philippine Institute of Volcano and Seismology (Phivolcs), in its 4 p.m. bulletin on Sunday, raised the alert level status of Taal Volcano to Level 3, with Alert Level 5, being the highest.

Alert Level 3 is raised when magma is detected near or at the surface and that hazardous eruptions may be forthcoming in days or weeks.

Local and national disaster councils have mobilized to evacuate people in the danger zones of the volcano under the Taal Lake.

Phivolcs reported magmatic intrusion that is likely to be the cause of the volcano’s phreatic eruptions on Sunday morning and afternoon.

“This means that there is magmatic intrusion that is likely driving the current activity,” the agency said, adding the danger zones may be expanded up to eight kilometers from the active crater.

“Phivolcs strongly recommends Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel, Batangas be evacuated due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami,” it said.

“The public is reminded that the entire Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and entry into the island as well as high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel is prohibited” the agency added.

“In addition, communities around the Taal Lake shore are advised to take precautionary measures and be vigilant of possible lake water disturbances related to the ongoing unrest.”

A phreatic eruption was recorded at around 11 a.m. with a stronger explosion being reported three hours later, with the volcano spewing a kilometer-tall ash column.

The last major eruption of Taal was on 3 October 1977 or 43 years ago.

 

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