Taal Volcano shows increased activity, chances of violent eruption at 30%

The Taal Volcano has started releasing large plumes of smoke and steam, prompting experts to believe that an eruption might occur

An agency in the Philippines reported seeing an increase in the amount of steam coming from the crater of the Taal Volcano. According to experts in the country, the volcano's chances of producing a powerful and violent eruption is currently at 30 percent.

The plumes of smoke and steam, which are at their largest ever since the volcano's initial eruption on Jan. 12, started rising from Taal at around 5 o'clock in the morning on Friday. The latest observations on the volcano indicated that it is still continuing to produce large clouds of steam.

Taal Volcano
Twitter grab

Taal Volcano's Increased Activity

Renato Solidum, the director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), noted that the Taal Volcano's latest emission is a common activity due to its current state. He said the volcano is producing large clouds of steam due to the volcanic earthquakes happening beneath it. The volcanologist said these indicate that the water inside the volcano is boiling.

"We're recording tremors beneath the island," Solidum told CNN Philippines. "This would signify the boiling of groundwater inside the volcano. From time to time this will exit as steam, but if there is enough pressure and a lot of steam below, this can generate profuse steaming or sometimes explosion."

Compared to its previous state during the last couple of days, the Taal Volcano appears calmer now. However, its status is still at Alert Level 4, which means it could still erupt within hours or days.

Taal Volcano, Philippines
Taal Volcano, Philippines Wikimedia Commons

Chances Of A Powerful Eruption

According to PHIVOLCS, the volcano's chances of causing a powerful eruption is at 30 percent. Although this may seem relatively low, Solidum noted this figure indicates that the volcano still has a good chance that it might erupt.

"For a huge explosion, we have that probability," he said according to local news agency Inquirer. "But there are bigger likelihoods of smaller eruptions, which can also produce base surges."

If the volcano produces a major eruption, scientists in the Philippines warned that it would cause instant death for anyone within Taal's 14-kilometer danger zone. Aside from the flow of superheated magma, volcanic rocks raining from the sky and toxic fumes produced by the volcano could kill those staying near or around the volcano during an eruption.