The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has placed Taal Volcano under Alert Level 3 or magmatic unrest following an eruption that gave rise to a kilometer-high phreatomagmatic plume at past 3 p.m. Thursday.
Phivolcs said the main crater generated a short-lived 1 kilometer-high phreatomagmatic plume at 3:16 p.m.– lasting 5 minutes – with no accompanying earthquake.
In magmatic unrest, magma ascent towards the surface can lead to a magmatic eruption with potential for the formation of lava flows, pyroclastic flows, lahars, ash-fall and ballistics.
Phivolcs recommended residents of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays Agoncillo and Laurel to be evacuated due to possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.
“The public is reminded that the entire Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone, and entry into the island as well as high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel is prohibited,” it said.
The Phivolcs also advised communities around Taal to take precautionary measures and to remain vigilant of possible lakewater disturbances.
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Calabarzon conducted an emergency meeting with other local government units after the eruption.
Mark Timbal, spokesman of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s (NDRRMC), said RDDRMC was joined by Cavite and Batangas local government officials as well as uniformed personnel in the area.
Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said evacuation preparations were underway in the province particularly in Tagaytay.
He warned that the Southwest Monsoon would bring significant ashfall if the volcano reached Alert Level 4 to 5.
“The province of Cavite is in close coordination with the officials of the LGU’s surrounding Taal. We have enough food stocks to last for 5 days. Over 100 vehicles are being mobilized to help with the evacuation,” Remulla said.
“Antigen test kits are also on standby for the evacuation areas,” he added.
Commodore Tito Andal, chief of Philippine Coast Guard District Southern Tagalog, prepared all personnel and assets of Coast Guard Station Batangas and Operational Control (Opcon) units in case the situation in Taal Volcano worsens.
“Likewise, contingency plans, movement routes, augmentation, and other matters, in coordination with PDRRMO, are in order and already disseminated with other Coast Guard District Southern Tagalog units,” the PCG said.
In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said Alert Level 3 meant the volcano exhibited “magmatic unrest.”
Taal Volcano, a large caldera filled by Taal Lake in Batangas, is one of the most active volcanoes in the country, with 34 recorded historical eruptions, all of which were concentrated on Volcano Island, near the middle of Taal Lake.
The caldera was formed by prehistoric eruptions between 140,000 and 5,380 BP or years before present time.