Taal volcano still under alert level 4 as sulfur dioxide emission increases

(Eagle News) — An alert level 4 remains hoisted over Taal volcano, as its sulfur dioxide emission spiked to an average of more than 4000 tons on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

In an advisory on Thursday, Jan. 16, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the average of 4186 tons was despite the general waning of Taal’s activity in the past 24 hours, characterized by a weak emission of steam-laden plumes 700 meters high that dispersed ash to the southwest.

At 6:17 a.m. and 6:21 a.m. today, Taal erupted short-lived dark gray ash plumes 500 meters and 800 meters high, respectively.

PHIVOLCS said the Philippine Seismic Network recorded 566 volcanic earthquakes since Jan. 12, at 1 p.m.

Over 100, or 172 of them, it said, registered at 1.2 to 4.1 magnitudes and were felt at intensities I to V.

Since 5 a.m. on Jan. 15 to today, at 5 a.m., 103 volcanic earthquakes were recorded, 14 of which registered at 1.2 to 4.0 magnitudes with intensities from I to III.

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

PHIVOLCS reiterated its call for an evacuation from volcano island, areas within the 14-kilometer radius of Taal and from Pansipit River Valley, where fissures were observed.

Residents around Taal were also advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ash fall.

Civil aviation authorities, PHIVOLCS said, should also advise pilots to avoid the Taal airspace due to the airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column.