SOME 302 volcanic earthquakes were recorded at Taal Volcano in the past 24 hours, the highest so far after it was placed at “elevated unrest,” following a series of tremor episodes more than a week ago.
Renato Solidum, chief of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), confirmed with The Manila Times in a Viber message the current “persistent” activity of the volcano in Batangas province.
“Taal Volcano is at Alert Level 2, and if current activity would persist, this can lead to an eruption,” Solidum said.
In the past 24-hour period, the Taal Volcano Network (TVN) recorded 302 volcanic earthquakes, including 184 episodes of volcanic tremor, having the duration of one to 12 minutes and 118 low-frequency volcanic earthquakes.
“Although the energy associated with the events is lower than previous days, [seismicity] is not continuous and there is lull, there is a possibility of a magmatic eruption,” he added.
The TVN said the volcano is emitting at least 925 tons/day of volcanic gases, specifically sulfur dioxide.
Ground deformation parameters from electronic tilt and data analysis indicated a very slow and steady inflation and expansion of the Taal region ever since the January 2020 eruption, Phivolcs said.
These parameters may indicate increased magmatic activity at shallow depths beneath the edifice, the institute said.
When asked if another Big One is possible at Taal Volcano since it only erupted in January last year, the Phivolcs chief replied in the affirmative.
“It is possible to have eruptions after a year in Taal, and this was manifested after the 1965 eruption [in] Taal’s eruption history where there were eruptions in 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970,” Solidum explained.
“Alert Level 2 is currently maintained over Taal Volcano, but that unrest has been elevating and is under constant evaluation,” he concluded.