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Geologist shares animated video explainers on volcanic hazards

As the Taal Volcano continues to show signs of unrest, a University of the Philippines geologist explained the numerous hazards associated with volcanic eruptions through animated video explainers on Monday.

While Alert Level 4 remains, the PHIVOLCS reported that the volcano did not emit ash on Wednesday. In the previous days, Taal Volcano has undergone a number of phreatic and magmatic eruptions.

In a series of hand-drawn animations, the Executive Director of the UP Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Dr. Mahar Lagmay detailed the hazards of ashfall and lava flow, resulting from volcanic eruptions.

When a volcano spews out an eruption column, the ensuing ashfall spreads all over the area.

An eruption column, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), is a vertical pillar of rock fragments forcibly ejected from the volcano and other gases that shoot up into the air during an eruption.

The ashfall from the eruption column can pile up on farm areas, and on the roofs of houses. It can even cause zero visibility.

The resulting ashfall from a volcanic eruption can pose as an aviation hazard, cause roof collapse, affect the respiratory system, and damage agriculture, according to Lagmay's animation.

In another animated video, the geologist explained the dangers of lava flow.

When a volcano spews out a lava fountain, lava flows are to be expected.

Lava is composed of hot, molten rocks that flow out of a volcanic vent. With temperatures as high as 1200 degrees celsius, lava flows move at a speed of ten kilometers an hour, from steep slopes, according to the animation.

While lava flows "bulldoze everything in their path," deaths are not common, and residents can outrun them.

On January 13, Taal Volcano spewed lava fountains which lasted for a minute. The PHIVOLCS subsequently classified this as a "low-level eruption."

Lagmay previously shared a series of animated videos to explain the different types of volcanic eruptions. —MGP, GMA News