Unprecedented high volcanic SO2 degassing at Taal Volcano, Philippines

Unprecedented high volcanic SO2 degassing at Taal Volcano, Philippines
Unprecedented high volcanic SO2 degassing at Taal Volcano, Philippines

On July 4, 2021, the highest level of emissions of volcanic sulfur dioxide or gas SO2 was recorded - an average of 22,628 tons per day, which is the highest in the history of Taal volcano.

From 00:00 UTC on Sunday 4 July (12:00 local time), a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes associated with magma degassing have been recorded under the eastern sector of Volcano Island.

Some of these earthquakes were reported to have been roaring and felt off the northeastern shores of Volcano Island.

These observational parameters may indicate that an eruption similar to the July 1, 2021 event may occur in the near future.

"In view of the above, DOST-PHIVOLCS reminds the public that the Taal Volcano has a Level 3 Alert and current SO2 parameters indicate ongoing magmatic extrusion in the Main Crater, which could lead to further explosions," the agency said in a statement.

PHIVOLCS strongly recommends continued evacuation from Taal Volcano Island and the dangerous Barangai Bilibinwang and Banyaga, Agoncillo and Boso Boso, Gulod and the eastern Bugaan East, Laurel, Batangas province, due to the potential danger of pyroclastic dense currents and volcanic tsunami if stronger subsequently occur eruptions.

According to the Governor of Batangas, about 15,000 residents have evacuated their homes since the July 1 eruption.

The public is reminded that the entire island of Taal volcano is a Permanent Hazard Zone (PZO), and entry to the island, as well as to the high-risk barangai Agoncillo and Laurel, is prohibited.

Any activity on Lake Taal during this time should be prohibited, PHIVOLCS added.

Residents of the shores of Lake Taal are advised to remain vigilant, take precautions against the possible release of ash and smog into the atmosphere and calmly prepare for a possible evacuation in the event of increased volcanic activity.

Due to the unprecedented high level of SO2 degassing from the main Taal crater, local authorities are additionally advised to conduct medical examinations in communities affected by smog to assess the severity of SO2 exposure to their residents and to consider temporarily evacuating SO2-exposed residents to more safe areas.

The civil aviation authorities advise pilots to avoid flying over Taal Island, as air ash and ballistic debris from sudden explosions and pyroclastic dense currents can pose a hazard to aircraft.

Popular by topic