Phivolcs: Volcano already open

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology fears a “faster progression” of seismic activities at Taal Volcano in Batangas.

READ: Taal rumbles, spews ash

“The volcano is already open,” said Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of PHIVOLCS’ Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division. “It would be easier for the magma to climb up. There would be nothing to stop the pressure. Whatever that is blocking the volcano has already been removed.”

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM? Smoke billows out of a seemingly quiet Taal Volcano on Friday (Jan. 17, 2020). Authorities continue to monitor the volcano, which remains under Alert Level 4, as a hazardous eruption is imminent within hours or days. (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon)
She said PHIVOLCS stood firm on its recommendation that high-risk areas be evacuated.

Despite the lockdown in several towns around Taal Volcano, local governments gave evacuees window hours over the weekend to enter their homes, get their belongings, and even feed their pets and livestock.

READ: Lockdown bugs relief operations

While PHIVOLCS is basing their observations and information on scientific data, local government units would take into consideration the concerns of their constituents and the economic impact on their livelihood, Bornas said.

She advised residents in the evacuation centers to just stay there since there is still a threat of a “hazardous explosive eruption.”

PHIVOLCS noted an increase in the number of volcanic earthquakes near Taal Volcano in the last 12 hours on Sunday morning.

Interviewed over Dobol B sa News TV, Phivolcs supervising science research specialist Wincelle Sevilla said there was a total of 787 volcanic quakes in 24 hours, more than the 366 quakes from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

PHIVOLCS said Alert Level 4 was still in effect with “a possible eruption possible within hours to days.”

READ: Atom-bomb like blast feared

The main crater of the volcano had steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions in the past 24 hours, PHIVOLCS said.

It recorded white and dirty ash plumes from the Taal Volcano main crater with a length of up to one kilometer.

The ash was dispersed southwest of the main crater.

Sulfur dioxide emissions have remained at 1,442 tons per day.

Batangas officials said classes in all schools in the entire province would remain suspended.

On Jan. 12, Taal sent up a giant ash cloud that reached Metro Manila, driving tens of thousands of people into evacuation centers.

“Suspension of classes shall continue in all levels in all schools, both public and private, in the entire Batangas province while the Alert Level of Taal is at Level 4,” the province’s Public Information Office said.

Batangas earlier declared a state of calamity to tap emergency funds and impose a price freeze on basic goods.

READ: Ashfall destroys P578 million in coffee, other cash crops, livestock and infra

READ: Danger signs of ‘big bang’ eruption persist

READ: Deadly calm: Main crater lake drained of water

Topics: Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology , Ma. Antonia Bornas , Taal Volcano
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