A silver lining: Taal lava fountain shows 'limited' potential damage - UP geologist

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2020 10:26 AM | Updated as of Jan 13 2020 10:43 AM

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MANILA - The flow of lava from Taal Volcano early Monday was "good news" and signals "limited" potential damage, a geologist said as authorities warned of a possible "explosive eruption."

Taal, the country's second most active volcano situated 2 hours away from Manila, remained on the brink of a possible "hazardous eruption" as it spawned at least 75 earthquakes, state seismologists said. 

It was possible that the eruption of the volcano would not carry a lot of pyroclastic material, according to Carlos Arcilla of the UP National Institute for Geological Sciences.

"The lava fountain to me is in a sense 'good news.' It’s silver lining. Number 1 because it’s not going to be an eruption that carries a lot of pyroclastic materials because 'yun po ang delikado (that's what is dangerous)," he told ANC's Headstart.

"That could still happen. I would have been more worried if continued na palaging ash and ash columns then suddenly super gas. Ang nagda-drive kasi ng eruption is 'yung gas content ng lava. Kung lumalabas na 'yung magma, it’s telling me at least the potential damage will be limited."

Arcila said it was important to heed authorities' advice, particularly Phivolcs.

"The important thing is to listen to what Phivolcs is saying because they have the instrument to do this. You cannot guess what’s inside, they rely on instruments," he said.

One of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the past 5 centuries, most recently in 1977. An eruption in 1911 killed 1,500 people and one in 1754 lasted for a few months.

--With a report from Reuters