Increased seismic activity at Taal volcano, Philippines

Increased seismic activity at Taal volcano, Philippines

In 24 hours to 00:00 UTC on February 26, the Taal Volcano Network recorded 113 volcanic tremor episodes with durations between 1 and 34 minutes, PHIVOLCS said in its latest bulletin for the volcano. The Alert Level remains at 1 (Abnormal) -- sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall, and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within the Taal Volcano Island (TVI).

Only weak steam-laden plumes were emitted by fumarolic activity at the vents at the Main Crater.

Temperature highs of 74.6 °C (166.3 °F) and pH of 1.59 were last measured at the Main Crater Lake on February 18 and 12, respectively.

Ground deformation parameters from continuous electronic tilt on Volcano Island record a slight deflation around the Main Crater since October 2020 but overall, very slow and steady inflation of the Taal region has been recorded by continuous GPS data after the eruption.

PHIVOLCS strongly recommends that entry into TVI, Taal’s Permanent Danger Zone or PDZ, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, must remain strictly prohibited. 

Local government units are advised to continuously assess and strengthen the preparedness of previously evacuated barangays around Taal Lake in case of renewed unrest.

Disaster response officials have ordered the evacuation of residents living near the volcano on February 16, 2021, after continued increased activity at the volcano.

Taal erupted in January 2020 for the first time in decades, ejecting volcanic ash up to 16.7 km (55 000 feet) above sea level and affecting the lives of at least 500 000 people.

Geological summary

Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the topography of SW Luzon.

The 15 x 20 km (9 x 12 feet) Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 (103 mi2) surface lies only 3 m (9.8 feet) above sea level.

The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m (525 feet), and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5 km (3.1 miles) wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions.

The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in the area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities. (GVP)

Featured image: ​Taal volcano on February 26, 2021. Credit: PHIVOLCS


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