Taal Volcano alert raised to level 2 on magmatic activity

REUTERS/ELOISA LOPEZ

STATE seismologists on Tuesday raised the alert status for Taal Volcano in Batangas province to level 2 in a five-step system, citing probable magmatic activity that may lead to an eruption.

“At Alert Level 2, evacuation is not yet recommended,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said in a bulletin posted on its website on Tuesday. “However, the public is reminded that Taal Volcano Island is a permanent danger zone.”

Entry into the Island especially around the main crater is prohibited, it said.

Seismologists said local governments should assess previously evacuated villages around Taal Lake for damage. This would let them strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest.

“Residents of these barangays are advised to be always prepared, to keep calm and listen to information only from trusted or verified sources,” according to the bulletin.

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Civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions pose hazards to aircraft.

The agency said it was closely monitoring Taal Volcano’s activity.

Seismologists recorded 28 volcanic tremor episodes, four low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, and one hybrid earthquake at depths of less than 1.5 kilometers beneath Taal Volcano Island in the past 24 hours.

“Volcanic tremors have increased seismic energy compared with previously recorded episodes and ranged between three to 17 minutes in duration,” according to the website.

Volcanic tremor events have risen to 866 since the onset of increased activity on Feb. 13.

Taal’s eruption starting in January 2020 forced thousands of people to flee and stay at evacuation centers for days.

Ashfall reached cities around the capital, forcing financial markets to suspend trading and the Manila airport to close. — Norman P. Aquino

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