MANILA — An increase in gas emissions has been reported at the Taal Volcano, which remains under Alert Level 1, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said Wednesday.
In its latest bulletin, Phivolcs said that Taal emitted a total of 12,125 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions Wednesday morning, the highest since the volcano was placed under Alert Level 1 on July 11.
Volcanic gases are expected to drift northwest of Taal Volcano Island, Phivolcs said, noting that sulfur dioxide emissions there have increased in July compared to the average amount of emissions between May and mid-July.
Upwelling of Taal's main crater lake and an increase of steam-rich plumes have also been observed in the past three days.
"Volcanic smog or vog was also observed yesterday and today over the western Taal Caldera and reported to have been heavy over the town proper of Laurel and Banyaga, Agoncillo, Batangas Province, where damage to vegetation were also documented by municipal officials," Phivolcs said.
The state-run agency cautioned residents to be wary of vog, as it consists of droplets containing volcanic gas, which can cause irritation of the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract due to its acidic nature.
"People who may be particularly sensitive to vog are those with health conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease, the elderly, pregnant women and children," Phivolcs said.
Residents in Tagaytay City and Bugaan East in Laurel, Batangas have also reported stench from sulfur, while a considerable increase in volcanic earthquakes has been observed.
Taal Volcano remains under Alert Level 1, which means that it is still in an abnormal condition. It may be placed under Alert Level 2 if Phivolcs observes an uptrend or pronounced change that may signify renewed unrest.
"At Alert Level 1, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within TVI (Taal Volcano Island," the agency said.
Taal's most recent eruption occurred last January, when nine phreatomagmatic bursts were recorded in the volcano.
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