Phivolcs: Expect more Taal Volcano activity in the next days

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — Taal Volcano is not showing signs of slowing down two days after it started spewing ash, state volcanologists said on Tuesday. They said the volcano is emitting less ash and steam, but authorities are still warning of a dangerous or hazardous explosion.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said residents near Taal should not let their guard down despite decreased volcanic activity.

"Hindi porket humina nang kaunti ang surface activity sa main crater ay ibig sabihin ay naibsan ang panganib, lalo na ngayon na meron na tayong fissuring," Chief of Phivolcs' volcano monitoring and eruption prediction Antonia Bornas said.

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum said the ongoing ash eruptions continue to trigger volcanic earthquakes.

"As we speak, there are still earthquake events so we expect more activities in the next few days," he told CNN Philippines.

He said the increased number and intensity of volcanic tremors occurring under the restive Taal pushed Phivolcs to raise the Alert level to 4 or "Intense Unrest" on Sunday.

He added the temblors will persist as magma continues to move up the crater, causing more volcanic explosions. Phivolcs has recorded 212 quakes since Sunday. Of this, 81 were felt by those near the area. It reached up to Intensity 5, categorized as strong shaking.

"Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity," Phivolcs said.

With hundreds of tremors recorded, Solidum explained the threat it poses to the houses situated in nearby areas.

"The danger from the earthquake events would be possible landslides on steep slopes like those on the caldera wall beneath Tagaytay Ridge. Houses with thick cover of ash might be affected by shaking as roof is heavier," he said.

He added the Taal Volcano continues to let out steam from the newly-formed lateral vents in the northern side of the volcano, which were created after it spewed 500-meter lava fountains on Monday. He also said fissures have been found in Lemery and Talisay, Batangas. 

Taal's activity may last from days to several months, based on its eruption history.

Authorities are closely monitoring the volcano as its hazardous eruption remains imminent.