MANILA – Residents near the Taal Volcano still cannot relax as the number of volcanic quakes in the area has significantly increased, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned on Sunday.
Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Mariton Bornas said a total of 787 volcanic earthquakes have been listed in the past 24 hours, including 15 low-frequency earthquakes.
With Alert Level 4 still in effect, hazardous explosive eruption may still occur within hours or days, Bornas explained, adding that it was conducting further assessment of the probability of all scenarios considering the volcano’s behavior.
“We are looking at all of the scenarios and lagi po nating ina-assess hourly, daily ‘yung monitoring ng data at applicability ng alert level. At kami na po ang magsasabi kung kailangan na tayong magbaba,” Bornas said.
“Nagkakaroon pa rin po tayo ng minor eruptions, walang sign na malakas as of the moment. Maaaring magkaroon pa rin ng phreatomagmatic eruptions, and meron of course malakas na expulsion ng gas. Mapanganib ‘yung mga ‘to,” she added.
Bornas also said that the Phivolcs is also “bothered” by the increased number of volcanic earthquakes especially now that Taal’s magmatic chamber has opened up, allowing space for movement of magma underneath.
“Medyo nababagabag kami sa aming nakalap na monitoring data. Kapag nag-umpisa ulit [ang eruption], napakaliit ng lead time lalo na ngayong nabuklat na ang bulkan kasi nung una, closed system pa siya na hindi pumuputok…so mas lala na po ngyon na open na ang bulkan, mabilis na po ang pagsampa ng magma, wala nang pumipigil sa kanya na pressure,” Bornas said.
Following Taal’s eruption which sent ash into parts of Metro Manila a week ago, the Phivolcs noted a quieter volcano with frequently continuing earthquakes since last week.
Residents of nearby areas, particularly the affected towns of Agoncillo, Talisay, Laurel, and San Nicolas in Batangas are still expected to follow the government’s strict evacuation protocol until the alert level is lowered.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council so far recorded a total of 96,061 individuals who were affected by the eruption in Batangas, Laguna and Cavite. Of this number, 70, 413 are taking temporary shelter in evacuation centers./PN