AFTER nearly a week of being quiet, Taal Volcano in Batangas province is again on active mode as more than 200 volcanic earthquakes and almost 2,000 tons of gas emissions were recorded by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in the past 24 hours.

The Taal Volcano Network has monitored 216 volcanic earthquakes including 177 tremor episodes having durations of 1 minute to 32 minutes, 39 low frequency volcanic earthquakes and low-level background tremor.

Sulfur dioxide emission averaged 1,932 tons as measured in the past 24 hours, according to Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum.

Ground deformation parameters from electronic tilt, continuous data analysis indicated a very slow and steady inflation and expansion of the Taal region since after the January 2020 eruption, Phivolcs said.

“These parameters indicate persistent magmatic activity at shallow depths beneath the edifice,” according to Solidum, who reiterated his warning for people near the Taal Volcano Island (TVI) to remain vigilant and should not go to TVI or go boating around the island.

The Phivolcs chief said Taal Volcano remains at alert level 2, “indicating an increased unrest and that the current activity may lead to a magmatic eruption.”

When asked about the possibility of raising the alert status, Solidum replied they are still closely monitoring the volcano’s behavior.

“We have not seen minor steam-driven or phreatic eruptions yet but we have monitored short duration steam emission. We are recording slow but steady ground deformation but no sudden change in rate of deformation,” he said.

Phivolcs has maintained that entering TVI and its permanent danger zone is strictly prohibited.

Concerned local government units have been advised to continuously assess and strengthen the preparedness of previously evacuated villages around Taal Lake in case of renewed unrest.

Furthermore, civil aviation authorities must advise pilots to avoid flying close to the volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments may pose hazards to aircraft.