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Taal Volcano vog already cleared but remains a recurring threat, PHIVOLCS says

Taal Volcano's volcanic fog or vog has cleared as of Saturday morning but remains a recurring threat, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said.

"'Yung nangyari nu'ng September 21 hanggang kahapon na halos zero visibility na ang Taal Volcano, ngayon, nagki-clear na po, nakikita na ang Taal Volcano... 'Yung vog na nag-envelope sa caldera ay nawala na po this morning," PHIVOLCS director Dr. Teresito Bacolcol said in an interview on Dobol B TV. said.

(Taal Volcano is already visible, unlike what happened last September 21 until yesterday wherein there was almost zero visibility. The vog enveloping the [volcano's] caldera is already gone this morning.)

However, "this will be a recurring threat. As long as the Taal Volcano is spewing sulfur dioxide, the threat will always be there," he added.

From 5 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. on Saturday, Taal Volcano's sulfur dioxide emission measured 2,730 tons per day, lower than the 4,569 tons per day recorded on Thursday, Sept. 21.

"Kahapon, nakapagtala ng sulfur dioxide measurement. 'Yung emission ay umabot ng 2,730 tons per day. Mas mababa ito sa naitala nu'ng September 21 na umabot sa 4,569 tons per day," Bacolcol said.

(Yesterday, we were able to record [the volcano's] sulfur dioxide measurement. The emission reached 2,730 tons per day. This is lower than the one recorded on September 21 at 4,569 tons per day.)

Bacolcol said these do not mean that the volcano is going to erupt immediately.

"Hindi ito nangangahulugan na magkakaroon ng eruption... 'Yung inilalabas na sulfur dioxide ng Taal Volcano, hindi 'yan considered na mataas for Taal Volcano... Hindi lang makaangat dahil sa thermal inversion...  The lower part, malamig, nahaharangan ang pag-angkat sa mainit na layer sa atmosphere," he said.

(These do not mean that there will be an eruption. The amount of sulfur dioxide being emitted by Taal Volcano is not considered high. The sulfur dioxide could not go up higher due to thermal inversion — the lower part is cold and the upper layer of the atmosphere is hot.) 

Bacolcol also said rains can help flush out vog.

"In a way, makakatulong ang mga pag-ulan dahil madaling ma-dissolve ang sulfur dioxide sa tubig. Pwedeng ma-flush out ang vog kapag malakas ang pag-ulan," he said.

(In a way, rains cause sulfur dioxide to dissolve. The vog can be flushed out when there are heavy rains.)

Zero visibility conditions were reported in Tuy, Balayan, Lian, and Nasugbu in Batangas due to the vog caused by Taal Volcano’s activity, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said on Friday.

The number of affected areas due to the volcanic activity also increased to 11 from six last week, according to Batangas PDRRMO chief Dr. Amor Calayan.

Meanwhile, in PHIVOLCS' update today, it said that no volcanic earthquakes were recorded in the past 24 hours.

"May na-observe na luminous steaming activity kahapon na umabot sa 1,800 meters," Bacolcol said.

(A luminous steaming activity was observed yesterday that reached 1,800 meters.)

"Nasa Alert Level 1 pa rin ang Bulkang Taal... Walang balak na itaas ito...  May mga parameter na ikinokonsidera bago ito itaas sa Alert level 2," Bacolcol said.

(Alert Level 1 [Low-level unrest] remains in effect for Taal Volcano. There is no need to raise this to the next level. There are parameters to be considered before we raise Alert Level 2.)

Meanwhile, PHIVOLCS reiterated that Taal Volcano Island is a permanent danger zone. Entry into the island especially the Main Crater and Daang Kastila fissures is prohibited.

Likewise, occupancy and boating on Taal Lake is not allowed.

Pilots should not fly aircraft close to the volcano due to possible damage caused by Taal Volcano's unrest, PHIVOLCS added.

PHIVOLCS said the following hazards may occur:

  • steam-driven or phreatic or gas-driven explosions;
  • volcanic earthquakes;
  • minor ashfall; and
  • lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas.


—KG, GMA Integrated News