Taal Volcano. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum Jr. on Friday night reiterated that entry into the Taal Volcano Island (TVI) must be prohibited, as a steam-driven explosion is possible in the Taal Volcano and would threaten particularly those on the island.

Solidum's pronouncement came after Phivolcs announced that a phreatomagmatic burst occurred at 2:26 a.m. on Friday, producing a plume 500 meters high.

For the past 24 hours, Phivolcs also detected two volcanic tremors lasting two minutes. The upwelling of hot volcanic fluids generated plumes 1,000 meters high, and Phivolcs described it as a voluminous emission.

The average sulfur dioxide (SO₂) emission on March 23 was 5,751 tons.

"The phreatomagmatic burst and high SO2 emission at Taal Volcano signify its continued unrest, and the possibility of steam-driven explosion or gas expulsion persists. Entry into TVI is prohibited," Solidum told the Philippine News Agency.

He explained that steam-driven or gas-driven explosions can physically harm those at the TVI. "High SO₂ gas can also affect someone's health if inhaled. Hence the no entry recommendation," Solidum added.

Phreatomagmatic eruptions are caused by the interaction of magma and water. Eruptions normally consist of multiple explosive events, the interval of which may vary.

Alert Level 2 (increased unrest) is maintained over the Taal Volcano, which means that sudden steam or gas-driven explosions, volcanic quakes, minor ashfall, and lethal expulsions of volcanic gas may occur and threaten areas within and around the TVI.

Phivolcs also reiterated that entry into the vicinities of the main crater and the Daang Kastila fissure must be strictly prohibited.

It likewise urged the local government to continuously assess and strengthen the preparedness of previously evacuated barangays around Taal Lake in case of renewed unrest. (PNA)