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‘Weak steam’ monitored from fissure of Taal volcano trail

THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Friday monitored “weak steam” coming out from fissure vents along a trail on Taal Volcano.

In its 8 a.m. bulletin, Phivolcs said that the “Daang Kastila” trail was used by visitors to get a view of the volcano’s main crater.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum clarified, however, that this was not the first time that steam was monitored was not monitored from the trail’s fissure.

“No. Even first week of activity we reported the fissure and vents in Daang Kastila,” Solidum told The Manila Times in a text message.

Solidum said the fissure and vent were indications of “satellite and visual observations of steaming.”

“May weak steaming na talaga along Daang Kastila, although weak lang before (There were already weak steaming [activities] along Daang Kastila even before),” Phivolcs Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division Chief Mariton Bornas also told The Manila Times in a text message.

When asked if Taal’s alert level would go dowm, Solidum said, “If Taal would [have] a decreasing trend in monitored parameters, the Alert Level can be lowered to 2.”

The activity of Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours was described as “moderate emission of white to dirty white steam-laden plumes rising 200 to 300-m high before drifting southwest.”

According to Phivolcs, there was no trace of sulfur dioxide emission in the past two days because of “weak plume activity.”

The Taal Volcano Network, meanwhile, recorded 118 volcanic earthquakes including 5 low-frequency events and 1 harmonic tremor that lasted less than 3 minutes.

Earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice that could lead to eruptive activity at the main crater, experts said.

The current alert of Taal is maintained at Level 3, which means “sudden steam-driven and even weak phreatomagmatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall, and lethal volcanic gas expulsions” could still happen.

Phivolcs recommended that entry into the Taal Volcano island, as well as into areas over Taal Lake and communities west of the island within a 7-kilometer radius from the main crater was prohibited.

They advised local government units to assess areas outside the 7-km radius for damage and road accessibilities and to strengthen preparedness, contingency and communication measures in case of renewed unrest.

Phivolcs urged the public to observe precautions due to ground displacement across fissures, frequent ashfall and minor earthquakes.

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