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Alert on Taal Volcano raised to Level 3 after 'magmatic unrest,' Phivolcs urges evacuation of nearby communities

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Jul 01, 2021 6:35 pm Updated Jul 01, 2021 6:38 pm

Taal Volcano’s Alert Level has been upgraded to Level 3 after an eruption occurred at around 3 PM today, July 1.

An Alert Level 3 from state seismologists means a “high level of volcanic unrest.” An Alert Level 3 from state seismologists means a “high level of volcanic unrest,” as magma is near or at the surface of the volcano and “activity could lead to hazardous eruption in weeks.” Under Alert Level 3, danger zones, where communities are evacuated, may be expanded up to eight kilometers from the crater.

Up next to Level 3 is Alert Level 4, which  means “hazardous eruption imminent,” and Alert Level 5, which means “hazardous eruption in progress.”

In a statement, state seismologists said they have recorded "phreatomagmatic plume 1 kilometer high with no accompanying volcanic earthquake."

Unlike a phreatic or steam-driven eruption, phreatomagmatic comes from the mixture of a volcano's fresh magma and an external water source, thus its cloudy dark appearance.

This means that there is magmatic intrusion at the Main Crater that may further drive succeeding eruptions,” the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) explained in a statement.

Phivolcs strongly recommended that those living in the vicinity and in high-risk areas like Agoncillo and Laurel, Batangas to evacuate the area “due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.”

“In addition, communities around the Taal Lakeshore are advised to take precautionary measures and be vigilant of possible lakewater disturbances related to the ongoing unrest,” they added.

The news comes days after volcanic smog from the volcano was confirmed to have reached  Metro Manila, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal among other areas.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar also instructed authorities to be on high alert if the need for evacuation heightens.

Meanwhile, people living nearby have gone on social media to post their experiences of Taal’s eruption.

Photo banner from The STAR / Michael Varcas