Increased degassing observed in Taal Volcano

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

February 19, 2024, 7:14 pm

<p>(<em>File photo</em>)</p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said 14,211 tons of sulfur dioxide (S02) emission was observed from the Taal Volcano Main Crater on Monday.

This is the second highest S02 flux recorded this year, and Taal Volcano generated an average of 10,000 tons per day since January.

"Based on reports from the Batangas LGU (local government unit), sulfur stench was reported by residents of Brgys. Bilibinwang and Banyaga in the Municipality of Agoncillo," Phivolcs' advisory read Monday afternoon.

Moderate winds have prevented the accumulation of S02 and no volcanic smog or vog over Taal Volcano’s caldera was observed, it added.

High concentrations of volcanic S02 could cause long-term health impacts to communities around Taal Caldera frequently exposed to volcanic gas.

The S02 gas could irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. The aerosol particles in vog could also penetrate the lungs and could induce the symptoms of asthma.

Meanwhile, Phivolcs said earthquake activity has remained weak with 17 volcanic earthquakes, mostly tremor events associated with volcanic gas activity, being recorded this year.

Alert Level 1 (abnormal) is maintained over the Taal Volcano, which means sudden steam-driven or phreatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, minor ashfall and lethal accumulations or expulsions of volcanic gas can occur and threaten areas within Taal Volcano Island (TVI).

Entry into TVI, especially the vicinities of the Main Crater and the Daang Kastila fissure, must remain strictly prohibited.

Local government units are also advised to continuously monitor and assess volcanic S02 exposure of their communities and undertake appropriate response measures to mitigate these hazards. (PNA)