Fissuring in areas near Taal Volcano hints impending explosive eruption

New fissures or cracks discovered in areas around Taal Volcano are an indication of an imminent explosive eruption, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said on Tuesday afternoon.

In a press conference, the agency further explained that fissuring on the caldera region means that the top of the volcano has been depressurized and the high volume of magma continues to rise, which will result in an explosive eruption.

“Ito pong fissures na ito or fractures, ito po ay nangyari din nung 1911 na pagputok ng bulkan bago po nagprogress sa climactic o explosive eruption,” said Ma. Antonia Bornas, chief of Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division.

Photo source via Twitter / Raffy Tima @raffytima

(These fissures, the same happened in the 1911 eruption of the volcano before it progressed into a climactic or explosive eruption.)

Batangas areas near Taal Volcano where fissuring occurred or new fissures or openings were found are Sinisian, Mahabang Dahilig, Dayapan, Palanas, Sangalang, and Poblacion in Lemery; Pansipit in Agoncillo; Poblacions 1, 2, 3, and 5 in Talisay; Poblacion in San Nicolas; and across the road connecting the towns of  Agoncillo and Laurel.

Photo source via Twitter / Raffy Tima @raffytima

Phivolcs also noted that another indication of an impending explosive eruption is the intense seismic activity or the 335 volcanic earthquakes recorded since Taal’s phreatic eruption on Sunday afternoon until 10 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Phivolcs, they have recorded earthquakes as strong as 4.1-magnitude since January 12. It said such a degree of tremor from inside the earth is considered powerful for a volcanic earthquake.

Photo source via Twitter / Raffy Tima @raffytima

“Ito pong mga na-observe natin na tuloy-tuloy na paglindol na malalaki, kasama ng fissuring o mga panibagong fissures, naghuhudyat po na meron talagang magma na umaakyat pa sa Taal,” explained Bornas.

(These successive strong earthquakes, along with the fissuring or news fissures, are signals that there is really magma rising in Taal.)

In the past, Phivolcs said Taal Volcano’s eruption has been characterized by continuous magmatic and hydrovolcanic activity.

Meanwhile, Phivolcs observed less lava fountaining in Taal, which also lessened the ashfall. This, however, does not mean that there is less danger.

“Hindi po porke’t humina ang intensity ng surface activity ay ibig sabihin ay naibsan po ang panganib, lalo na po ngayong meron na tayong fissuring,” warned Bornas.

(It doesn’t mean that just because surface activity weakened, the danger has eased, especially now that we have fissuring.)

Because of this, Phivolcs reiterated their call for the urgent evacuation of residents especially in high-risk areas within the 14-kilometer radius danger zone.

Photo source via Twitter / Raffy Tima @raffytima

Among the hazards that will follow an explosive eruption are a volcanic tsunami, landslides, and volcanic slide, Phivolcs said.

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This article first appeared on Inquirer.

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