Phivolcs records highest levels of sulfur dioxide at Taal; ‘eruptive activity’ possible

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2021 09:26 PM

Phivolcs records highest levels of sulfur dioxide at Taal; ‘eruptive activity’ possible 1
Smoke rises from the Taal Volcano as seen from Laurel, Batangas on July 3, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — State seismology agency Phivolcs on Saturday recorded the highest levels of sulfur dioxide emitting from Taal volcano at 14,699 tons, which it said could signal another eruption similar to what happened on Thursday. 

In a statement, Phivolcs said the continued upwelling in Taal’s main crater lake created stem plumes reaching 2,500 meters high earlier Saturday, thus worsening the volcanic smog or vog in Batangas.

"The highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 gas emission and tall, steam-rich plumes from the Taal Main Crater have been recorded today," the statement read. 

“Elevated [sulfur dioxide] emission may be succeeded by eruptive activity at the Main Crater similar to increases in [sulfur dioxide] flux… that preceded the short-lived phreatomagmatic eruption at 3:16 p.m. of July 1," it added. 

Local officials in Laurel town, Batangas earlier reported 10 children being isolated after experiencing flu and fever at an evacuation center due to the persistence of vog. Their condition is not severe. 

Video courtesy of Phivolcs

Phivolcs earlier said that volcanic smog is a kind of air pollution due to volcanic gas. Because the particles are acidic, it could irritate a person’s eyes, throat, and respiratory tract “depending on the gas concentrations and durations of exposure.” 

The volcanic smog or vog is a kind of air pollution due to volcanic gas, Phivolcs said in an advisory earlier this week. This is due to Taal's continued emission of high sulfur dioxide levels.

Because of this, the agency reiterated its call to high-risk barangays in Batangas such as Bilibinwang and Banyaga in the municipality of Agoncillo and Buso-buso, Gulod, and eastern Bugaan in the municipality of Laurel, to evacuate or remain in evacuation centers. 

Disaster officials on Friday lamented the low evacuation turnout among residents, which was why they sought the help of local governments as well as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Phivolcs earlier said it reported 3 short phreatomagmatic explosions, 48 volcanic earthquakes, based on its 24-hour monitoring. 

On Thursday, the volcano roared to life with a "short-lived dark phreatomagmatic plume" that rose a kilometer into the air. 

Taal's last eruption in January 2020 shot ash 15 kilometers high and spewed red-hot lava, crushing scores of homes, killing livestock and sending over 135,000 people into shelters.

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