Taal Volcano emits towering steam plumes; Will it erupt again?

The Taal Volcano in the Philippines continues to show signs of unrest after recently emitting 300-metre-high plumes of steam

The Philippines' Taal Volcano has once again shown signs of increased activity after emitting large plumes of steam from its crater. According to an agency monitoring the volcano, Taal's latest activity falls within its current Alert Level status.

The Taal Volcano's period of unrest began on Jan. 12 after causing a massive phreatic eruption that covered many parts of the country with ash fall. Since then, the volcano's activities have subsided, prompting local authorities to lower its status from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 2.

Taal Volcano
Twitter grab

Taal's Latest Volcanic Activity

On Wednesday evening, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) detected steam emission from the volcano. According to the agency, the emission reached a height of 300 metres. The agency also detected about 34 volcanic quakes near the volcano. PHIVOLCS noted that the seismic activity was most likely caused by rock fracturing near the edifice.

"In the past 24 hours, activity in the Main Crater was characterized by moderate emission of steam-laden plumes that rose 300 metres high before drifting southwest between 9:00 PM yesterday and 3:00 AM today," PHIVOLCS stated in its latest bulletin. "Intermittent weak steaming activity occurred throughout the rest of the observation period."

Taal Volcano, Philippines
Taal Volcano, Philippines Wikimedia Commons

Current Alert Level Status Of Taal

Despite the volcano's latest activity, PHIVOLCS maintained that the recent emissions were only moderate. In addition, the agency reminded the public that Taal's latest volcanic activity is expected for a volcano with an Alert Level 2 status.

"Alert Level 2 is maintained over Taal Volcano," the agency explained. "DOST-PHIVOLCS reminds the public that at Alert Level 2, sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within Taal Volcano Island (TVI) and along its coast."

Maintaining A State Of Precaution

Although the emissions and volcanic earthquakes were minor, PHIVOLCS advised the local government of the regions surrounding Taal to stay alert and maintain a state of preparedness in case of continued unrest from the volcano.

The agency also advised local authorities and officials to assess the previously evacuated areas that are within the seven-kilometer danger zone around Taal. According to PHIVOLCS, the officials should check for road accessibility as well as new signs of structural damages in these areas.