Cavite, which straddles the province of Batangas where Taal Volcano Island is, is vulnerable to possible lava flows from the seething volcano, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology chief Rene Solidum says in a press briefing held just minutes ago.
Looking at the hazard maps based on observations by PHILVOCS indicate that the volcano is capable of wrecking havoc in nearby areas similar to the one it did in 1754. The last major eruption in Taal occurred in 1977.
Taal’s worse eruption to date happened in 1754, where hundreds were killed and forced the relocation of the town’s center to its present location today. It began on the 15th of May and lasted for seven months. The huge volume of pyroclastic material virtually closed off the Taal Volcano Island from the Balayan Bay and transformed the waters there from marine to freshwater.
There are already six or seven eruption vents identified by PHILVOCS. These vents are cracks in the earth through which lava erupts. Vents can be as wide as several meters to several kilometers.
Eruption vents litter the main volcano island, Binintiang Malaki (also known as “fake volcano”), Pirapiraso, Off-Calauit and Binintian Munti. Today, PHILVOCS announced the discovery of a new eruption vent and the abnormal heating of waters in the lake.
PHILVOCS Ballistic Projectiles Hazard map show that in the event of an eruption, the municipalities of Laurel and Agoncillo along with a small portion of the Talisay shoreline are vulnerable areas. Ballistic projectiles from volcanic eruptions usually emit blocks and fiery bombs which usually hit areas within two (2) kilometers of the vent, although this can also see projectiles landing as far as five (5) kilometers.
Outside of these areas, PHILVOCS say the possibility of the entire CALABARZON being covered in ash fall depends on the direction of the wind currents at the time of eruption. Ash fall tends to be thicker closer to the vents from which eruptions occur and thins out the farther away from these vents.
Reviewing the base surge hazard map by the PHILVOCS in the event of the ejectment of turbulent gas and rock fragments, these will surely affect the municipalities of Taal, San Nicolas, Agoncillo, Laurel along with parts of Santa Teresita, Mataas-na-Kahoy, Balete, Cuenca, Alitagtag, Malvar, Tanauan City and Talisay. Even the outer fringes of Lipa City are included.
Seismic activity such as earthquakes or forces caused by a blast can cause water in a semi-confined area, such as Taal Lake, to oscillate or swing from side to side. Phivolc’s Taal Volcano Seiches/Lake Oscillation Hazard Map shows in yellow (and light green where the yellow is superimposed on the blue waters of the lake) areas vulnerable to seiches should a 1754-scale eruption of the volcano occur. These include the parts of the shorelines of Tanauan City, Talisay, Laurel, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Santa Teresita, Alitagtag, Cuenca, Mataas-na-Kahoy, Balete and Malvar.
Lava however may reach nearby towns and cities which are located at the path going to the Northern direction. The towns of Dasmarinas and Silang of Cavite province may be affected by lava flows from a major eruption of Taal.