Taal spews steam, triggers more volcanic quakes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — Taal Volcano's main crater emitted thick white steam-laden plumes with ash on Friday.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the steaming started past 5 am and reached 600 meters.

"We're recording tremors beneath the island. This would signify the boiling of groundwater inside the volcano. From time to time this will exit as steam, but if there is enough pressure and a lot of steam below, this can generate profuse steaming or sometimes explosion," Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum told CNN Philippines.

State volcanologists also recorded stronger volcanic quakes in the past 24 hours following its calm activity in the past few days.

Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division Chief Mariton Bornas said seven strong tremors were recorded, ranging from Magnitude 1.2 to 2.7.

After days of seeming calm, Bornas said the latest activity of Taal is not that significant.

"Hindi siya ganoon kalaki, pero may kaunting pagsipa sa bilang at lakas ng mga lindol sa nakaraang 24 oras," she said in a media briefing.

Phivolcs also recorded low amount of sulfur dioxide emissions at 224 tonnes/day.

Alert Level 4 remains hoisted over Taal, meaning a hazardous eruption is possible within hours or days.

Military and police officers on Thursday started enforcing a total lockdown of all 199 barangays in 15 municipalities and cities in Batangas and Cavite, which have been identified as vulnerable to base surges and volcanic tsunami as a result of Taal's eruption. Everyone inside the 14-kilometer radius danger zone is being evacuated.