New fissures, cracks in several areas in Batangas appear as Taal volcano shows signs of imminent explosive eruption

Some of the recent fissures or cracks on the ground in Batangas documented by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) as Taal Volcano continued to have intense volcanic activities. (Photo courtesy Phivolcs)


(Eagle News) — New fissures or cracks on the land surface were observed in several towns in Batangas as Taal volcano showed more signs of a hazardous or explosive eruption in the next few hours or days.

In the latest advisory of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), said that the Taal volcano’s eruption so far has been “characterized by continuous magmatic and hydrovolcanic activity.”

This means that there is movement of magma beneath the ground surface, as it interacts with water, and magma is rising through the surface.

PHIVOLCS has already noted lava fountains that generated “800-meter tall dark gray steam-laden plumes drifted to the general southwest.”

The cracks or ground fissures were observed in the following areas and towns: “Sinisian, Mahabang Dahilig, Dayapan, Palanas, Sangalang, Poblacion, Lemery; Pansipit, Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5, Talisay and Poblacion, San Nicolas.”

PHIVOLCS also documented a “fissure across the road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas.”

Information contained in the PHIVOLCS website explained that ground fissures occur when there is ascending magma to the ground surface.

“Ascending magma can cause the volcano edifice to swell before and during an eruption, causing the ground to break up into fissures, typically along weaknesses in the rock such as fractures or faults,” it said.

“After magma has been erupted, its removal from the subsurface can cause the ground to sink and subside and further fissuring to occur. Ground subsidence and fissuring are typically accompanied by earthquakes, and altogether can cause infrastructural and house or building damages, loss or degradation of land surface and re-routing of waterways and rivers,” it said.

So far, the Philippine Seismic Network recorded 49 volcanic earthquakes in the Taal region from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Seven of these earthquakes were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity 2 to 4 in Tagaytay City.

“The intense seismic activity coupled with fissuring on the caldera region likely signifies continuous magma intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity,” PHIVOLCS said in its latest volcanic bulletin for Taal.

-Hazardous explosive eruption within hours to days-

“Alert Level 4 still remains in effect over Taal Volcano. This means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days,” the agency said.

It strongly reiterated “total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal Main Crater.”

Meanwhile, areas around Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall.

Civil aviation authorities are still advised not to allow planes in the “airspace around Taal as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column still post hazarads to aircraft.”