'Highest ever’ sulfur dioxide levels, series of strong quakes recorded at Taal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2021 05:28 PM | Updated as of Jul 04 2021 06:05 PM

'Highest ever’ sulfur dioxide levels, series of strong quakes recorded at Taal 1
Taal volcano emits steam-rich plumes as seen from Barangay Buso-Buso, Laurel, Batangas on July 4, 2021, around 7:30am. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Signs of another eruption similar to Thursday’s, Phivolcs says

MANILA — State seismology agency Phivolcs on Sunday recorded the highest ever levels of sulfur dioxide emitting from Taal volcano at 22,628 tons a day, which it said is "anomalously high".

In its latest volcano bulletin, Phivolcs said a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes have been felt in the eastern sector of the volcano island, with some of the earthquakes reportedly accompanied by rumbling. 

These parameters, Phivolcs added, signal another eruption similar to what happened on Thursday. 

"The highest levels of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 gas emission was recorded today at an average of 22,628 tonnes/day, the highest ever recorded in Taal," Phivolcs said. 

Phivolcs said Alert Level 3 prevails over Taal Volcano, and that current sulfur dioxide emissions indicate ongoing magmatic extrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding explosions.

It also the Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays of Bilibinwang and Banyaga, Agoncillo and Boso-boso, Gulod and eastern Bugaan East, Laurel, Batangas Province remain evacuated.

"The public is reminded that the entire Taal Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ), and entry into the island as well as high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel must be prohibited. All activities on Taal Lake should not be allowed at this time. Communities around the Taal Lake shores are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog (volcanic smog) and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify," Phivolcs said.

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. 

On Sunday, Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas said some 15,000 residents of the province have fled their homes following the phreatomagmatic eruptions.

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

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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