Jan 12, 2020

After 43 years since its last major explosion, Taal Volcano is once again showing signs of activity with a kilometer-high ash column that can be seen even from a distance.

Earlier today, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said that the second most active volcano in the country is spewing ash and smoke in phreatic eruption due to hydro-thermal activities.

Phivolcs said it has recorded minor explosions in the morning followed by a stronger one, which occurred at 2 p.m. that resulted in an eruption plume. Earthquakes were also subsequently felt in surrounding areas throughout the day, which led to the commencement of evacuation.

Conditions are being closely monitored for the next 48 hours but since the first sign of smoke this morning, the alert level has been raised from 1 to 2, and just recently to 3, which is classified as relatively high unrest due to magmatic activity.

In a Facebook post, Phivolcs said, “This means that there is magmatic intrusion that is likely driving the current activity. 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.”

TAAL VOLCANO BULLETIN (UPDATE)12 January 202004:00 PMThis serves as notice for the raising of the alert status of…

Posted by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS-DOST) on Sunday, January 12, 2020

Glossary of terms

Just like many other natural disasters that have hit the country, it is the lack of a clear definition of scientific terms that often clouds judgment among affected civilians. Remember the term storm surge or daluyong and how, because of the lack of sufficient public education and information drives, lots of lives were put at risk during typhoons?

So to enlighten us during this Taal Volcano activity, here are descriptions of the terms used by the Phivolcs for us to further understand and assess the risk of the volcanic activity.

Phreatic eruption – According to the United States Geological Survey, it is steam-driven explosions that occur when water beneath the ground or on the surface is heated by magma, lava, hot rocks, or new volcanic deposits.

Eruption plume –  a vertical accumulation of hot volcanic ash and gas emitted into the atmosphere during an eruption.


Header photo courtesy of Tagaytay City Cavite Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council

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TAGS: Phivolcs taal batangas taal volcano taal volcano eruption volcanic eruption