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Strong eruption seen at Taal Volcano as cracks appear in Batangas

New fissures or cracks on the ground were spotted in several towns of Batangas amid the Taal Volcano's possible hazardous explosive eruption, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Tuesday.

PHIVOLCS said that the fissures appeared in barangays Sinisian, Mahabang Dahilig, Dayapan, Palanas, Sangalang, and Poblacion in Lemery town; Barangay Pansipit in Agoncillo;  Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, and Poblacion 5 in Talisay; and Poblacion in San Nicolas.

The road connecting Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas also had a crack.

"Ang hinuhudyat nung malalakas na lindol at fissuring na nangyayari ngayon sa Batangas ay mayrooon po tayong malaking volume ng magma na ini-intrude sa edifice at maaari po itong iputok bilang isang malakas na eruption," Mariton Bornas, chief of Volcano Monitoring & Eruption Prediction Division of the PHIVOLCS, said in a press conference.

"Ngayon, hindi pa po masyadong humihiwalay 'yung lupa pero noong 1911 ang nangyari po after ng malakas na pagputok, lumubog pa 'yung lupa diyan. Fissuring muna before the large eruption and then lumubog," she added.



These fissures sometimes become degassing vents which may emit steam or other chemical compounds, according to Bornas.

She said that these cracks are not harmful per se unless they become really big.

"Of course kapag may bahay doon at kapag lumala 'yung fissure delikado 'yun," she said.

A total of 49 new earthquakes were recorded in the Taal region from 2:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, according to PHIVOLCS.

Seven of these were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity II to IV in Tagaytay City.

This brings to 335 the total number of volcanic earthquakes in Taal Volcano since Sunday afternoon, according to Bornas.

Some 800-meter tall dark gray steam-laden plumes were also generated by lava fountains in Taal Volcano, affecting the areas at its southwest.

PHIVOLCS reiterated that a total evacuation is needed in the Taal Volcano Island, as well as those in the 14-kilometer radius from the main crater because these areas are vulnerable to possible pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.

Those in other areas surrounding the volcano must also prepare for heavy and prolonged ashfall.

The airspace around Taal Volcano is hazardous to aircraft due to risks that may be posed by airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column. —NB, GMA News