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STILL DANGEROUS

Big Taal Volcano eruption 30% possible —PHIVOLCS


There is still a 30-percent probability of a huge Taal Volcano eruption, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Thursday.

PHIVOLCS officer-in-charge Undersecretary Renato Solidum explained during a press conference that the experts have arrived at the said figure after various scientific considerations were factored in.

"We look at the monitoring parameters that we have and binibigyan namin ng weight ito. We have experts that provide their opinion on what the data would be showing to us. Mayroon din tayong reference with the historical data that we have and the deposits that some of us have studied... kino-combine namin 'yan," Solidum said.

As of Thursday, reduced sulfur dioxide emissions and fewer volcanic earthquakes were observed on the Taal Volcano.

The 30-percent probability, however, is still "high" especially for those in high-risk areas within the 14-kilometer radius from Taal Volcano's main crater. The vulnerable population should not let their guard down.

"Mataas yung 30% para doon sa nasa loob ng danger zone," Solidum said.

According to PHIVOLCS Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Mariton Bornas, the probability of having a huge eruption got as high as 70 percent when Taal Volcano initially roared, more than a week ago.

The probabilities may still change anytime, PHIVOLCS stressed.

"Nagbabago 'yan... ito pong condition ng volcano can change lalong-lalo na po ang magma na galing sa ilalim na bago ay dumating na sa ibabaw," Solidum said.

Many possible scenarios

Now that the magma has already moved up but has not been ejected yet, the PHIVOLCS is looking at many possible scenarios.

"Pwede siyang tumuloy, magkaroon ng pagsabog na malakas—delikado sa mga tao. Pwede rin siyang tumigil na at sana ganoon na, hindi na masyadong problema," he said.

"Pero sa history ng Taal Volcano, hindi pa rin nagtatapos 'yung kaniyang istorya kasi minsan may mga pagitan ng buwan o taon ang pagitan ng mga eruption. Lalong lalo na, nandito na 'yung magma na nag-resupply. Mabuti sana kung walang nag-resupply, madaling sabhin na okay na," he added.

Solidum said that if the magma will not be ejected, it can solidify and turn into rocks. Yet, if a new supply of magma rises, it can push the old ones upwards too.

PHIVOLCS has yet to release data regarding the volume of the resupplied magma beneath the Taal Volcano as consolidation of information is still ongoing, according to Bornas.

Alert Level 4 remains over Taal Volcano as of Thursday, meaning a hazardous eruption is possible within hours to days.

PHIVOLCS earlier in the day noted that the sulfur dioxide emission of Taal Volcano has further dwindled and its seismic activity appears to be relatively calming down but an imminent hazardous eruption is still possible.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the number of individuals in CALABARZON affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano has increased to more than 300,000.

The situation has already resulted in some tension in the affected areas, including one at the the Lemery-Taal bypass in Batangas on Thursday morning, where residents blocked the road, preventing rescue vehicles and authorities from entering the area, resulting in a standoff. — MDM, GMA News