The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Saturday said it has raised the alert status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) to Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest).
In its 8 a.m. bulletin, PHIVOLCS said the main crater of Taal Volcano "generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst" at 7:22 a.m.
LOOK: The Taal Volcano generated a short-lived phreatomagmatic burst on Saturday morning, according to PHIVOLCS.— Joahna Lei Casilao (@joahnacasilao) March 26, 2022
This was "followed by nearly continuous phreatomagmatic activity that generated plumes 1500 m accompanied by volcanic earthquake and infrasound signals.” @gmanews pic.twitter.com/UzBDryC5HK
This was "followed by nearly continuous phreatomagmatic activity that generated plumes 1500 m accompanied by volcanic earthquake and infrasound signals," PHIVOLCS added.
LOOK: Footage of the phreatomagmatic eruption of Taal Main Crater from onset at 7:22 AM to 8:59 AM, 26 March 2022, recorded by the Main Crater Observation Station (VTMC). pic.twitter.com/zyY4tbS70I— PHIVOLCS-DOST (@phivolcs_dost) March 26, 2022
Under Alert Level 3, "there is magmatic intrusion at the Main Crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions," it said.
In its website, PHIVOLCS said Alert Level 3 means "magma is near or at the surface, and activity could lead to hazardous eruption in weeks. Danger zones may be expanded up to eight (8) kilometers from the active crater," PHIVOLCS said in its website.
"Sa kasalukuyan, hindi naman lumalaki ang mga pagsabog pero ito ay patuloy magmula pa kaninang 7:30 a.m.," PHIVOLCS Officer-in-Charge and Science Undersecretary Renato Solidum sad in an interview on Dobol B TV.
Solidum said ashfall has so far been detected only on Taal Volcano Island.
"May mga pagbagsak ng abo sa [Taal Volcano] island pa lang natin nakikita base sa mga camera," he said.
PHIVOLCS strongly recommended the evacuation of residents in Taal Volcano Island and Barangays Bilibinwang and Banyaga in Agoncillo, and Boso-bobo, Gulod and eastern Bugaan East in Laurel "due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should stronger eruptions subsequently occur."
PHIVOLCS also reiterated that Taal Volcano Island is a permanent danger zone. It also said entry into Taal Volcano Island as well as the barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel which are considered high-risk should be prohibited.
"All activities on Taal Lake should not be allowed at this time," it added.
PHIVOLCS also advised communities by the shores of Taal Lake to "remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify."
Flying over Taal Volcano Island poses danger to aircraft due to airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and pyroclastic density currents such as base surges, it added.
The Philippine Coast Guard has been placed on heightened alert on Saturday, and conducted forced evacuation on fishermen and fish cage workers on Taal Lake.
It also assisted affected residents in evacuating from their barangays.
The evacuation of residents in five barangays in the municipalities of Agoncillo and Laurel, which are within seven-kilometer distance from Taal Volcano's crater, began on Saturday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council told reporters.
"Ongoing ang evacuation activities po sa Barangay Gulod, Boso-Boso and eastern portion of Bugaan East in Laurel. And initial info from Agoncillo local government unit is 160 families had been evacuated," NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said.
(The evacuation activities are ongoing in Barangays Gulod, Boso-Boso and the eastern portion of Buaan East in Laurel.)
PHIVOLCS said it continues to monitor Taal Volcano closely and will report any new development.
The agency places under Alert Level 3 any volcano that meets the following criteria:
- Sustained increases in the levels of volcanic earthquakes, some may be perceptible;
- Occurrence of low-frequency earthquakes, volcanic tremor, rumbling sounds;
- Forceful and voluminous steam/ash ejections;
- Sustained increases in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates, ground deformation/swelling of the edifice; and
- Activity at the summit may involve dome growth and/or lava flow, resultant rockfall.
In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Joselito Castro said that by 10 a.m., not much plumes were seen coming out of Taal Volcano.
According to him, PHIVOLCS has not observed any large debris coming out of Taal Volcano. However, on Taal Lake, sand fell on the waters and felt by fishermen feeding fish in fish cages. —KG, GMA News