Phivolcs warns of ‘increased and continuous degassing’ in Taal Volcano

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 4) – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Sunday reported increased degassing activity from Taal Volcano since 10:30 p.m. of June 3.

This led to a visible upswell of volcanic fluids that produced steam-rich plumes rising up to 3,000 meters above Taal’s main crater lake, it said in an advisory.

“This produced significant volcanic smog or ‘vog’ over Taal Caldera. Vog was reported this morning by residents of the municipalities of Balete, Laurel, and Agoncillo, Batangas,” Phivolcs said.

“A total of 5,831 tonnes/day of volcanic sulfur dioxide or SO2 gas emission from the Taal Main Crater was recorded last 1 June 2023, which was higher than last month’s average of 3,556 tonnes/day.”

Phivolcs described vog as consisting of fine droplets that contain sulfur dioxide, an acidic volcanic gas which irritates the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract.

Pregnant women, the elderly, children, and individuals with asthma, lung disease, and heart disease may be particularly sensitive to vog, the agency warned.

Volcanologists reminded those in surrounding areas to limit exposure to vog by avoiding outdoor activities, shutting doors and windows, wearing an N95 facemask, and drinking plenty of water to reduce throat irritation and constriction.

It added that acid rain – which could damage crops and affect metal roofs – could be generated “during periods of rainfall and volcanic gas emission over areas where the plume disperses.”

Meanwhile, Phivolcs maintained Alert Level 1 over Taal, which means the volcano is still in abnormal condition and “should not be interpreted to have ceased unrest nor ceased the threat of eruptive activity.”

However, it may raise the Alert Level to 2 in the event the activity intensifies.

Last Friday, the agency recorded “relatively weak and shallow but continuous volcanic tremor” within Taal Volcano.

READ: Phivolcs reports 'low-level activity' in Taal Volcano