Alert level 4 still hoisted over Taal as volcano emits steady steam, registers infrequent weak explosions

(Eagle News)–A steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions have so far been observed in Taal, which has also generated ash plumes 50 to 600 meters tall and dispersed ash southwest of the main crater.

In its 8 a.m. bulletin on Saturday, Jan. 18, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said sulfur dioxide emission had  gone down to an average of 360 tons per day, consistent with weak plume activity, even as it reiterated that an alert level 4 remained in place over the volcano.

This means that a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.

PHIVOLCS said the Philippine Seismic Network recorded a total of 666 volcanic earthquakes since Jan. 12, at 1 p.m.

Over 100— 174 to be exact–of these registered at 1.2 to 4.1 magnitudes and were felt at intensities I to V.

Since Jan. 17, 5 a.m. to 5 a.m. today, 32 volcanic earthquakes that registered at 1.5 to 3.3 magnitudes were plotted.

PHIVOLCS said the Taal Volcano Network recorded 876 volcanic earthquakes, including six tremor events and 20 low frequency earthquakes.

“Such intense seismic activity likely signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” PHIVOLCS said.

PHIVOLCS reiterated the need for an evacuation from volcano island, the areas within the 14-kilometer danger zone and from Pansipit River Valley, where fissures were observed.

Residents around Taal were advised to guard against the effects of continuous and prolonged ashfall.

According to PHIVOLCS,  civil aviation authorities should also inform pilots about avoiding Taal airspace.