MANILA — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Wednesday warned of a heightened possibility of another eruption of the Taal Volcano in Batangas, similar to its explosion that displaced hundreds of thousands last year.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said that in the last 24 hours, the institute tallied 69 earth tremors caused by "hydrothermal activity," in which gas from magma or molten rocks heats water underneath the Taal Volcano Island.
He said an eruption would affect volcano island. Authorities earlier undertook preemptive evacuation there.
"Iyong tubig na iyan at iyong steam o gas ay kumikilos kaya maraming paglindol. Ito rin po ang nagdudulot ng pagpapainit sa Taal main crater lake at sa pagiging mas acidic nito," he said in a public briefing.
(That water and the gas or steam moves and cases earthquakes. These also heat the Taal main crater lake and make it more acidic.)
"Ito po iyong ating tinitingnan, tumataas po ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng phreatic eruption or explosion tulad po noong nangyari noong initial part ng Jan. 12, 2020 activity ng Taal Volcano. Ito pong ganitong pangamba ay makakaapekto lamang sa kasalukuyan doon sa volcano island mismo."
(This is what we are looking at, there is an increasing possibility that another phreatic eruption or explosion could occur, like what happened in the initial part of the Jan. 12, 2020 activity of the Taal Volcano. This worry will only affect the volcano island itself.)
The volcano sits on an island surrounded by a lake in Batangas province, south of the capital. Taal's eruption in 2020 blanketed parts of Luzon in ash, drove tens of thousands into evacuation centers and left billions of pesos in damage to agriculture.
Entry into Taal's danger zone remains prohibited, said Solidum.
"Iyong phreatic eruption or explosion ay mabilisan po iyan o sudden. Kapag ang tao po ay natutulog doon at naninirahan, lalo na sa gabi, mahirap po silang magresponde ng tama," he said.
(A phreatic eruption or explosion is sudden. If it happens while people are sleeping or living there, especially at night, they will find it hard to respond properly.)
The country's chief seismologist added, "Sa atin pong mga kababayan sa paligid ng Taal Volcano na nasa mainland, wala pong threat sa kasalukuyan ang Bulkang Taal sa inyo; ang bawal lang ay pumunta sa volcano island."
(To our compatriots living around Taal Volcano in the mainland, there is no current threat on you; what is prohibited is going to the volcano island.)