Phivolcs raises Taal Volcano to Alert Level 2: “May or may not lead to an eruption”

Phivolcs raises Taal Volcano to Alert Level 2: “May or may not lead to an eruption”

- Phivolcs increased the alert level of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 1 to Alert Level 2

- Volcanologists noted an increased incidence of volcanic tremors within the past 24 hours

- The agency said these indicate possible magmatic activity within the volcano

- Experts stated such may or may not lead to an eruption

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The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned the public about the increased tremor episodes, possibly indicating the existence of magmatic activity over Taal Volcano, and that it could either lead to an eruption or not.

Phivolcs raises Taal Volcano to Alert Level 2: “May or may not lead to an eruption”
S-wards view to Taal caldera lake and Volcano Island with Binintiang Malaki-Big Leg crater from Ligaya Drive going down between Tagaytay and Talisay towns. (Photo by rweisswald)
Source: Getty Images

The agency noted that because of the observed activities, it increased the alert level status of the famous volcano from Alert Level 1 to the higher Alert Level 2 early morning of Tuesday, March 9.

Alert Level 1, as explained by the agency, means there is a “low level of unrest.” On the other hand, Alert Level 2 would indicate an “increasing unrest.”

In an advisory that Phivolcs published 8 a.m. Tuesday, the agency disclosed its findings of a likelihood of magmatic activity.

Volcanologists said they have observed 28 volcanic tremor incidents, four low-frequency volcanic shakes, and a hybrid tremor at a shallow depth of no more than 1.5 km deep down the Taal Volcano Island in the past 24 hours.

Philippine volcanologists also revealed that aside from volcanic earthquakes, changes in the volcano's main crater lake have been observed. They also noted some deformations appearing along with "microgravity changes."

“Volcanic tremors have increased seismic energy compared to previously recorded episodes and ranged between 3 [and] 17 minutes in duration,” the agency stated.

Phivolcs also revealed that the total number of volcanic earthquakes since February 13 has reached 866, with 141 of those observed as low-frequency volcanic tremors.

The agency also advised LGUs to keep on assessing barangays around Taal Lake which have been previously evacuated. Local government officials were also reminded to check for structural damages, strengthen preparedness and ensure unhampered road access.

Phivolcs also reminded the public that Taal Volcano Island remains as a Permanent Danger Zone. Entering the island, particularly within the Daang Kastila fissure and other vicinities within the Main Crater, remains strictly prohibited.

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Taal Volcano, referred to as Bulkang Taal by locals, is a huge caldera filled with water and referred to as Taal Lake located in the province of Batangas. The volcano is among the most active in the country with 34 recorded eruptions so far, all of which occur on Volcano Island near the center of Taal Lake. Scientists say there is likelihood that prehistoric eruptions formed the caldera. Until now, experts are unable to determine if such formation continues to play a factor in the very active status of the volcano.

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In January of last year, the volcano erupted, prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents. In September 2020, Phivolcs once again raised the alert status of Taal Volcano after volcanologists found it is swelling anew. At the time, the agency has recorded 14 volcanic quakes in the area, causing the agency to be vigilant with regards to its activities.

Less than a month ago, the agency provided a vital update about Taal Volcano. The agency revealed that Taal Volcano has a heightened possibility of another eruption. Phivolcs, however, said that Taal Volcano Network has been noting “numerous imperceptible volcanic tremors”

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