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‘Taal quakes may lead to explosive eruption’

By ALEXANDRIA SAN JUAN •
MARTIN SADONGDONG

Taal Volcano’s “hazardous explosive eruption” is still possible as stronger and more frequent seismic swarm or series of quakes continued to happen in the volcano, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned.

Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum, Jr. said on Tuesday that the volcano is not showing signs of slowing down as its main crater continued to spew lava and ash, triggering series of tremors in the area.

While lesser volcanic activities have been observed in the surface crater of Taal such as weaker lava fountaining, Solidum said that strong and recurring volcanic quakes indicate that there is still a movement of magma beneath Taal Volcano’s edifice which may further lead to explosive eruption.

According to Phivolcs’ Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division chief Mariton Bornas, a total of 355 volcanic quakes were recorded near Taal as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, since Sunday afternoon prior to its phreatic eruption.

“These earthquakes were measured with magnitude of up to 4.1 and were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I to V in Tagaytay City in Cavite, and Alitagtag, Lemery, Sto. Tomas, and Talisay in Batangas,” Bornas explained in a press conference on Tuesday.

Bornas pointed out that the tremblors recorded in areas near the volcano were slightly stronger for a volcanic earthquake, meaning there is a continued movement of significant volume of magma beneath Taal.

Fissures have also been found in Lemery and Talisay in Batangas, Bornas said.

“Itong mga na-o-observe natin na tuluy-tuloy na paglindol na malalakas, kasama ng fissuring, ay naghuhudyat na meron talagang magma na umaakyat pa sa Taal,” she added.

While more volcanic activities are expected to occur in Taal in the coming days, Solidum reiterated that eruptions are unpredictable as it depends on the pace of the movement of magma.

“Hindi natin masasabi kung anong oras o araw posible itong sumabog kasi depende ito sa bilis ng pag-akyat ng magma at kung tuluy-tuloy ito na mangyayari,” he said.

The Phivolcs director emphasized that the possibility of Taal’s hazardous explosive eruption is not being set aside and could happen within hours to days as its danger level remains at 4, a notch below the highest alert level.
Level 5, the highest, indicates an ongoing eruption.

“Isa sa sa mga pinaka importanteng basehan kung bakit tayo nagtaas ng Alert Level 4 ay dahil sa mga lindol na nangyayari. Dumadami pa nga ito at lumalakas,” Solidum added.

30,000 FLEE HOMES

Meanwhile, the number of affected persons because of Taal’s eruption has increased to 6,891 families or 30,423 individuals.

At least 4,175 families or 18,187 individuals were sheltered in 118 evacuation centers in Batangas and Cavite.

Jalad assured that relief items were being served to the families in the evacuation centers.

Three road sections were also reported not passable because of the effects of Taal’s explosion.

These were the Tanauan-Talisay-Tagaytay Road, Talisay-Tagaytay Section in Talisay, Batangas; Tagaytay-Taal Lake Road in Tagaytay City, Cavite; and Tagaytay-Talisay Road also in Tagaytay City. They were closed to traffic due to ashfall.

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