According to the latest bulletin from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), Taal Volcano’s activity has been characterized by “continuous but generally weaker eruption of the Main Crater due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic processes” since its eruption on January 12, 2020. However, the fissuring of nearby areas mean the volcano is still very active beneath the surface.
“It’s the rising of the magma that is causing the fissures,” said Phivolcs Director Renato Solidumin a press conference. “If the rise of magma is continuous, there is higher possibility of activity in Taal Volcano.”
Fissures or the opening up of the ground happen before an eruption when magma pushes its way out of the volcano, according to Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Ma. Antonia Bornas in an interview with ABS-CBN News. Fissures often appear before an explosive eruption then subside after.
Fissures and new cracks were found in towns of Lemery, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas. A fissure also cracked across the road that connects Agoncillo to Laurel, Batangas.
A total of 159 volcanic earthquakes — 28 of which were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity 1 to 3 — happened between 5:00 a.m. on January 14, 2020 until 5:00 a.m. today, January 15, 2020.
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“Ang hinuhudyat nung malalakas na lindol at fissuring na nangyayari ngayon sa Batangas ay mayroon po tayong malalaking volume ng magma na ini-intrude sa edifice at maari poi tong iputok bilang isang malakas na eruption,” said Bornas in a press conference. She adds that these cracks are not harmful unless their size increases. However, some houses in Batangas have already been destroyed due to the ground movements.
Eduardo Degrano looks at the damage to his home after a fissure formed underneath his ancestral house. In a nearby house, owners start to gather their belongings fearing it might totally collapse due to the fissure that cut through their home. #TaalVolcanoEruptionpic.twitter.com/ZxGhiklrum
Alert Level 4 is still in effect over Taal Volcano. The Phivolcs reiterates that hazardous explosive eruption is still possible within hours to days.
“DOST-PHIVOLCS strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and high-risk areas as identified in the hazard maps within the 14-km radius from Taal Main Crater and along the Pansipit River Valley where fissuring has been observed. Residents around Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall,” Phivolcs said in its bulletin.
More than 30,000 individuals were evacuated from their homes when the Taal volcano erupted. Click here for a list of organizations where you can send help and donations to.