Repeated Taal eruptions possible over several months or years: Phivolcs

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2020 10:53 AM | Updated as of Jan 13 2020 02:04 PM

Residents wait for rescuers at the city hall of Talisay, Batangas hall as a Taal Volcano threatened to erupt. Jon Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Taal Volcano could erupt several times over a span of months or years after spewing ash that blanketed parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila over the weekend, the state seismology office said Monday. 

A popular tourist attraction set in the center of a picturesque lake, Taal Volcano's eruption in 1754 lasted for 7 months, marked by periods of both weak activity and strong explosions, noted Phivolcs volcano monitoring division chief Ma. Antonia Bornas. 

"Ito po ang pangkaraniwang ugali ng Taal," she told radio DZMM. 

(This is the most typical pattern of Taal.) 

Another eruption of Taal lasted from 1965 to 1969, while its 1911 eruption only took 3 days, she said. The shorter eruption killed some 1,300 people, according to Phivolcs. 

"Kailangan po talagang paghandaan ang ganito pong mga scenario. Maaari pong paulit-ulit ating maranasan ang pagputok ng bulkan ngayon pong nagsimula na siya," said Bornas. 

"Maaari po tayong abutin ng ilang buwan o ilang taon, hindi po natin masabi sa ngayon," she added. 

(We need to prepare for these scenarios. We could repeatedly experience the volcano's eruption now that it has started. It could take several months or years, we can't tell for now.) 

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Authorities in Batangas moved at least 8,000 residents to safer ground, said Lito Castro, head of the province's disaster office. 

Several neighboring provinces and government agencies lent trucks to the evacuation effort, as the Batangas government prepared additional relief packs, added Vice Governor Mark Leviste. 

"Pinaghahandaan po namin ang worst case scenario, ayon sa kasaysayan ng Taal Volcano," he said in a separate DZMM interview. 

(We are preparing for the worst case scenario, based on the history of Taal Volcano.) 
 
Phivolcs earlier raised the danger level posed by the volcano to 4 out of a possible 5, meaning "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days."

The Philippines lies on the "Ring of Fire," a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is also prone to earthquakes. With a report from Reuters