Taal Volcano recorded “anomalously high” volcanic SO2 (sulfur oxide) gas emission on Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said in its afternoon bulletin the same day.
The levels of volcanic SO2 gas emission were recorded at an average of 22,628 tonnes per day, the highest ever recorded in Taal.
Since midnight, there have been a total of 26 strong and very shallow low-frequency volcanic earthquakes associated with magmatic degassing recorded beneath the eastern sector of the volcano island.
“Some of these earthquakes were reportedly accompanied by rumbling and weakly felt by fish cage caretakers off the northeastern shorelines of Volcano Island. These observation parameters may indicate that an eruption similar to the July 1, 2021 event may occur anytime soon,” the Phivolcs update read.
As Alert Level 3 still prevails and the current SO2 parameters indicate ongoing magmatic extrusion at the main crater that may further drive succeeding explosions, Phivolcs strongly recommended that Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays of Bilibinwang and Banyaga in Agoncillo town; and Boso-boso, Gulod, and Bugaan East in Laurel, remain evacuated due to the possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami should stronger eruptions subsequently occur.
The public is reminded that the entire Taal Volcano Island is a Permanent Danger Zone and entry into the island as well as high-risk barangays of Agoncillo and Laurel must be prohibited.
All activities on Taal Lake should not be allowed at this time, Phivolcs reminded.
“Communities around the Taal Lake shores are advised to remain vigilant, take precautionary measures against possible airborne ash and vog (volcanic smog) and calmly prepare for possible evacuation should unrest intensify,” the advisory read.
Local government units were likewise advised to conduct health checks on communities affected by vog to assess the severity of SO2 impacts on their constituents and to consider temporary evacuation of severely exposed residents to safer areas.
Civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying over Taal Volcano Island as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from sudden explosions and pyroclastic density currents such as base surges may pose hazards to aircrafts.