Phivolcs records more quakes in Taal, keeps alert level unchanged

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 2) — The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has maintained Alert Level 2 unchanged over the Taal area despite reporting increased volcanic earthquakes in the 24 hours to 8 a.m. of Friday.

In its latest advisory, Phivolcs said it recorded 269 volcanic earthquakes, an increase from the previous day’s 254. Latest count includes 219 episodes of volcanic tremors, with durations of one to thirty-seven minutes, 49 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes, and one volcano-tectonic earthquake in the 24 hours monitored.

There were also weak emissions of steam-laden plumes at the main crater that rose ten meters, it added.

Further analysis also “indicated a very slow and steady inflation and expansion of the Taal region since after the January 2020 eruption. These parameters may indicate increased magmatic activity at shallow depths beneath the edifice.”

The agency raised the status of the volcano on March 9 after it exhibited signs of “increased unrest.” This warning means a possibility of a magmatic activity that may or may not result to an eruption, but evacuation is not yet recommended, it said.

Despite maintaining the alert level, Phivolcs noted it is constantly evaluating volcanic activities of Taal.

It also reminded the public for possible occurrence of sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, more volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall, and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas especially in areas on and around the Taal Volcanic Island.

Entry must be prohibited into this area that is also considered as Taal’s permanent danger zone, especially around the vicinities of the main crater, the Daang Kastila fissure, Phivolcs warned.

It also reiterated its call for local authorities to continuously assess and prepare in case of renewed unrest. Civil aviation authorities were also advised to remind pilots to avoid flying close to Taal as ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and wind-remobilized ash may cause hazards.