Sunday, January 12, 2020

Taal Volcano in Philippines Has Phreatic Eruption

**LIVE CAM NOW AVAILABLE**



Three hours later, a stronger explosion occurred.

The last major eruption of Taal occured in 1965, which sent pyroclastic flows and tsunami style waves through the lake which surrounds its currently active center. This was one of the Philippines most deadly eruptions.

The current statement from PHIVOLCS is below:




Several social media posts have shown first hand footage and imagery:



The last historical eruption of Taal was in 1977 with a VEI of 2. The largest historical eruption occurred in 1965 with a VEI of 4, killing many.

The new activity suggests there has been new magma injected into the system. This does not necessarily mean that a larger eruption is imminent, but it does typically mean that enough magma that has a heat flashpoint with water got close enough to flash water into steam, creating the latest explosion.

Phreatic eruptions are the result of a minor (or major) volume of water coming into close contact with molten rock. The rock could be older 'crystal mush', or cooler magma which did not have enough gas content to erupt until it came into contact with a water source, or in rare cases fresh magma from the injection source.

Taal volcano has been inflating, and the lake temperatures in the middle vents fluctuating, for years so this eruption is not entirely surprising. PHIVOLCS is monitoring the situation closely, and will be providing updates as soon as they can.

In the last several minutes, it appears an even larger eruption is now underway.



*****UPDATE 1/12/2020*****

Lava fountaining is now observed in the main crater of Taal:



Everyone on the central island has been evacuated. There is not currently an evacuation mandate for the residents around the larger lake (the central crater lake is now completely obliterated).

The latest (Translated to English) update from PHIVOLCS:

"DOST-PHIVOLCS indicates an increase in Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent) from Alert Level 3 (magmatic unrest) to the current status of the Long Range. Starting at 5:30 pm (PST), volcanic activity is intensified which includes continuous eruption of steam-laden tephra columns with a height of 10 to 15 kilometers with occasional lightning and rainfall. ash extends north of the volcano to Quezon City. Volcanic tremor was also recorded starting at 11:00 am, with two earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 (6:15 pm) and 3.9 (6:22 pm) in Tagaytay City and Alitagtag, Batangas in force Intensity III.

In the event, DOST-PHIVOLCS raises Alert Level 4 to the state of the High Volcano where dangerous eruption is possible within hours to days. DOST-PHIVOLCS strongly recommends total evacuation from Taal Volcano Island and further evasion of hazardous or high-risk areas within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal Main Crater due to possible threat of having a pyroclastic density current (fast waves of very hot smoke and ash) and volcanic tsunami. Areas north of the Taal Volcano are advised to guard and beware of the effects of continuous and long-term rainfall. Civil aviation authorities should advise aircraft to avoid flying around the volcano because of the danger of ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column. DOST-PHIVOLCS will continue to monitor the Taal Volcano's activity and release an update to the public."

Next update:

"Taal Volcano entered a period of intense unrest beginning with phreatic or steam-driven activity in several points inside the Main Crater at 1:00 PM of 12 January 2020 that progressed into magmatic eruption at 02:49 AM to 04:28 AM of 13 January 2020. This magmatic eruption is characterized by weak lava fountaining accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning. At 2:00 PM yesterday, booming sounds were heard at Talisay, Batangas.

The Philippine Seismic Network has recorded a total of seventy-five (75) volcanic earthquakes in Taal region as of 5:00 AM, January 13, 2020. Thirty-two (32) of these earthquakes were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity II – V in Tagaytay City, Cabuyao, Laguna, Talisay, Alitagtag, Lemery and Bauan, Batangas. Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity.

Alert Level 4 still remains in effect over Taal Volcano. This means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days. DOST-PHIVOLCS strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal Main Crater. Areas in the general north of Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall. Civil aviation authorities must advise aircraft to avoid the airspace around Taal Volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column pose hazards to aircraft. DOST-PHIVOLCS is continually monitoring the eruption and will update all stakeholders of further developments."

The following live feed is now available:



*****UPDATE 1/12/2020*****

The interest in Taal volcano has apparently brought he Smithsonian Global Volcano Program (GVP) offline, this is likely due to too much Internet traffic.

*****UPDATE 1/12/2020*****

There is now a live camera provided by rt.com https://www.rt.com/on-air/478090-taal-volcano-eruption-philippines/

*****UPDATE 1/13/2020*****

Taal volcano is still erupting. PHIVOLCS has recommended a 17-km (10.5 mi) exclusion zone around the eruptive center, which covers the towns and villages around the larger Lake Tall. Despite the urgent warnings from PHIVOLCS, some people are sneaking back to their homes in desperation, attempting to grab belongings or livestock.

Heavy ash mixing with rainfall has created a black sludge rain made of ash and mud which is making life miserable for many. The fine ash mixed with water is extremely heavy, so building collapses are now a serious risk. Ash suspended in air is hazardous to breathing, as volcanic ash is made of small volcanic glass shards. Inhaling these seriously damages lungs, so masks are essential.

PHIVOLCS is expecting a larger eruption 'within hours or days', which could end up being as large, or larger, than the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

Their latest update is below:






The main airport is reportedly reopened after the winds shifted to the SW, so there is an opportunity for some to flee the volcano while there is still time.

*****UPDATE FROM PHIVOLCS 1/14/2020  (Philippines Local Time)*****

"For the past 24 hours, Taal Volcano’s activity has been characterized by continuous eruption of the Main Crater due to magmatic and hydrovolcanic activity. This ongoing eruption generated 500-meter tall lava fountains topped by dark gray steam-laden plumes reaching approximately 2 kilometers tall that dispersed ash to the southwest and west of the Main Crater. Flashes of volcanic lightning were observed at the base of the degassing plumes this morning. New vents opened up on the northern flank where short 500-meter lava fountains, and within the main crater where steam plumes, have emanated.

Since the last update, heavy ashfall from the ongoing continuous activity of Taal Volcano has reportedly fallen on the municipalities of Lemery, Talisay, Taal, and Cuenca, Batangas.

The Philippine Seismic Network has recorded a total of two hundred twelve (212) volcanic earthquakes in Taal region as of 2:00 AM, January 14, 2020. Eighty-one (81) of these earthquakes were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I – V in Tagaytay City, Cavite. Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 5299 tonnes/day on 13 January 2020.

Alert Level 4 still remains in effect over Taal Volcano. This means that hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days. DOST-PHIVOLCS strongly reiterates total evacuation of Taal Volcano Island and areas at high risk to pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami within a 14-kilometer radius from Taal Main Crater. Areas in the general north of Taal Volcano are advised to guard against the effects of heavy and prolonged ashfall. Civil aviation authorities must advise aircraft to avoid the airspace around Taal Volcano as airborne ash and ballistic fragments from the eruption column pose hazards to aircraft. DOST-PHIVOLCS is continually monitoring the eruption and will update all stakeholders of further developments."

*****UPDATE 11/14/2020*****

A live video stream is now available at the top of the blog.

PHIVOLCS is now reporting that 'fissures and cracks' have appeared SW of Taal Volcano Island, near the coastal cities. This could mean that the magma intrusion under Tall extends beyond the boundaries of the larger caldera Lake Taal. This of course could mean that a much larger eruption is possible.

I did look up the names of the mentioned towns on Google Earth, and all but one were closely clustered to the SW, which may suggest that these reports are accurate, and that new cracks and fissures are opening up a long distance from the central eruptive vent. Time will tell. If this is true, the magma chamber has made multiple paths to the surface, and effusion of lava will be likely.