Alert level may be raised on Taal volcanic eruption

Hazardous explosive eruptions of Taal volcano are still possible within hours to days. (Photo courtesy ABC News)
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Should seismic and volcanic activity continue to worsen, the alert level may be raised to 5 over the Taal volcano area within the next few days, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOLCS).

PHILVOLCS held a press conference early Monday to brief the community about the status of the evacuations and other updates.

Phivolcs had already raised the Alert Level to 4 over Taal which means a hazardous explosion may occur within hours or days and should the alert level be raised to 5, volcanic tsunami may occur.

PHILVOLCS says they have recorded more than 70 volcanic earthquakes in the Taal region as of 5 a.m Monday  morning. More than 30 of these earthquakes, with intensities ranging from 2 to 5, were felt in surrounding towns and cities such as Tagaytay, Cabuyao, and Talisay.

On Guam, there are a number of residents with ties to the Batangas and Southern Tagalog region, which is the area most affected by the volcanic and seismic activity.

Marie Cummings, the president of the Batangas and Southern Tagalog Association of Guam, said evacuations from the nearby communities started as early as Sunday. Cummings’ family originated from Buli, a community several kilometers away from the volcano island.

“I have a lot of friends in Taal, Batangas, which is not too far from the volcano. Because of the eruption and the earthquake, they told me that it lasted for seconds, they decided to evacuate to Manila or other places that are farther away from the volcano island,” Cummings said.

She added: “Most of them, they started leaving last night because they were told to evacuate and I have some relatives who were not able to leave right away but eventually they were able to leave this morning. So they are okay now.”

Cummings remembered the volcano’s 1965 eruption.

“I came from Buli, Batangas and it is 15 kilometers away from the volcano island. In the 1965 eruption of Taal volcano, I experienced the earthquake and the ash fallout. And from where we live, we were able to witness the explosion and it is red. You can see that the sky is red. That’s because of the fire in the explosion,” Cummings said. 

The 1965 eruption was described as phreatomagmatic. This means the mixing of magma and lake water produced the volcanic explosion.

The force of the explosion created an indentation in the island.