Taal Volcano Booooom! Philippines’ lowest Volcano cooks

Taal Volcano Boooom!

Taal Volcano experienced a phreatic eruption around 1 PM on Sunday January 12th, 2020. This phreatic explosion generated a plume approximately 100 meters high. Depending of the witness’ position the steam/ash cloud looks dramatic. (Pictures are from PHIVOLCS).

Taal Volcano – What is the current status?

Taal Volcano first had a phreatic explosion around 1 PM. PHIVOLCS increased the Alert Level from 1 to 2. Around 5 PM PHIVOLCS increased the alert level from 2 to 3. Alert Level 3 means that there is magmatic unrest in the volcano, implying a movement in the magma.

PHIVOLCS write in their last bulletin:

Since 28 March 2019, Taal volcano seismic network has manifested moderate to high level of seismic activity. Some of these earthquakes were felt with intensity ranging from Intensity I (Scarcely Perceptible) to Intensity III (Weak Shaking) in the barangays of Calauit, Balete, Sitio Tibag, Pira-Piraso, and Buco, Talisay, Alas-as and Pulangbato, San Nicolas, Batangas. Often, these felt earthquakes are accompanied by rumbling sounds. Today, three felt earthquake events were recorded at 0735H, 1043H and 1400H. A seismic swarm has started at around 1100H and ongoing as of 1410H.

Taal Volcano 2020-01-12

What is a phreatic explosion?

A phreatic explosion is like a pressure cooker who’s valve is blocked. When steam develops enough pressure the pot breaks and explodes. Taal Volcano is predestined for phreatic explosion. The currently active volcano lays on an island in a like on an island in a lake. The infiltration of water into the volcano’s body is very obvious.

But worse is that PHIVOLCS seems also to have discovered magmatic unrest. This means that the molten liquid inside of the volcano is either moving or is producing gases. A magmatic eruption could be very dangerous.

About 6,000 residents on the island, surrounded by the Taal Lake, were ordered evacuated on boats to the main island of Batangas since the ground movements started this morning.

Taal Volcano - Ash Fall in Tagaytay

James Lee Valentine‎ shot this photo in Tagaytay, about 15km from the volcano

If you want to know more about Taal Volcano… Taal Volcano is the lowest volcano in the Philippines. It is only 311 meters above sea level. Although the volcano has been quiet since 1977, it has shown signs of unrest since 1991, with strong seismic activity and ground fracturing events, as well as the formation of small mud pots and mud geysers on parts of the island. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) regularly issues notices and warnings about current activity at Taal, including ongoing seismic unrest.

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