Taal volcano eruption: 466 volcanic earthquakes, ash fired into sky – Taal volcano latest
The Taal volcano is still erupting, and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said the volcano remains at a level four alert out of a possible five. The warning states an “explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.”
Thick layers of ash from the erupting volcano have covered land and lakes around the mountain, with stark images of half-buried animals in black sludge.
Since Sunday, the volcano has been spewing lava and ash, with the authorities urging around 450,000 people to flee.
PHIVOLCS said it supported a “total evacuation” of all residents who were within a 14km radius of the volcano.
So far nearly 44,000 people have fled the 14km (nine-mile) danger zone around Taal.
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Volcanologists have warned a devastating eruption could rain rocks and magma and trigger a tsunami from the lake in which the volcano sits.
On Tuesday night, lava was catapulted half a mile into the sky, and more than 50 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded in just hours.
PHIVOLCS said in a statement on Twitter: “The intense seismic activity coupled with fissuring on the caldera region likely signifies continuous magma intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity.”
With lava spewing into the air, Renato Solidum, the head of PHIVOLCS, has spoken about the rising magma.
He said: “The speed in the rise of magma is important [in determining] when the volcano will have a strong eruption and if it will slow down and freeze.
“As of now, we don’t see activities slowing down and the earthquakes still continue.”
Despite the warnings, some residents who live near the foot of the volcano have returned to their homes to rescue their animals.
Activity is ongoing for the fourth day, with a near-continuous stream of ash and fountains of lava thrown into the sky.
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Since Sunday, a staggering 466 earthquakes have been recorded, and experts warn more eruptions may still come.
Of those quakes, 156 were recorded as being intensity one to four.
Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Mariton Bornas said: “For volcanic earthquakes, that is strong.”
Fissures or cracks were seen in the villages of Sinisian, Mahabang Dahilig, Dayapan, Palanas, Sangalang, Poblacion, Mataas na Bayan in Lemery; Pansipit, Bilibinwang in Agoncillo; Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, Poblacion 3, Poblacion 5 in Talisay; and Poblacion in San Nicolas.
Mr Bornas, said on Tuesday: “These new strong, continuous earthquakes that we are now experiencing are due to fissuring, which means that there really is magma that is still making its way out of Taal.”
Areas around the volcano are showing fissures or cracks, which shows there are very active areas of magma underneath.
According to PHIVOLCS, fissures usually happen before an eruption as magma rises towards the volcano.
This causes subsidence as the moving magma leaves a space.
Mr Solidum said during a press conference: “It’s the rising of the magma that is causing the fissures.
“If the rise of magma is continuous, there is higher possibility of activity in Taal Volcano.”
The Taal volcano is located on the explosive Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped area in the Pacific Basin.
This is home to the majority of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and is formed due to the movement of lithospheric plates.
The Ring of Fire is home to 452 volcanoes and spans 40,000km.
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