Taal volcano: Increased magma activity detected; Is it in danger of erupting again?

PHIVOLCS warns of possible eruption after detecting Earthquakes, magma movement and sulfur emissions in Taal Volcano.

A local agency in the Philippines has detected increased seismic and volcanic activities from Taal Volcano. The agency warned that these indicate that the volcano could still cause a powerful eruption.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has been keeping a close eye on Taal Volcano ever since its phreatic eruption on Jan.12, which caused heavy ashfall to rain over the cities and provinces surrounding it.

Taal Volcano, Philippines
Taal Volcano, Philippines Wikimedia Commons

Previous Status of Taal Volcano

Over the past couple of weeks, the volcano's activity has subsided. This prompted PHIVOLCS to lower Taal's Alert Level status from 4 to 3, which means that the threat of a violent eruption has decreased. After the status was downgraded, the lockdown on many areas surrounding the volcano was lifted, allowing residents to return to their homes.

In addition to the removal of the lockdown, the established danger zone around the volcano was decreased from 14 to 7 kilometers. Although volcanic activity has lessened, PHIVOLCS maintained that it will still monitor the volcano in case its status changes.

Taal Volcano
Twitter grab

Increased Volcanic Activity

Recently, the agency reported through a bulletin on Wednesday morning that it has detected a total of 137 volcanic earthquakes and harmonic tremors around the volcano. According to PHIVOLCS, the seismic activity indicates that the magma underneath Taal is still active and moving.

Aside from the earthquakes, the agency also detected sulfur dioxide emissions coming from the volcano. According to PHIVOLCS, the level of emission jumped to 64 tons per day on Wednesday compared to almost zero on Tuesday. Plumes of steam have also started rising from the volcano's main crater in the last couple of days.

Due to the sudden increase in activity, PHIVOLCS warned that an eruption is still possible. If these activities continue the agency will most likely raise the volcano's Alert Level status to 4. "These earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice that could lead to eruptive activity at the main crater," PHIVOLCS stated according to GMA News Online.