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Weak earthquakes continue to jolt Taal

White steam emits from Taal volcano crater as seen from Philippine airforce helicopter on Jan 21, 2020. PHOTO: AFP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

Pan Pacific Agency | COMMUICATION AGENCY FOR PACIFICA REGIONS

MANILA, Jan 29, 2020, PhilStar. Despite the easing situation that led to the lowering of alert level, earthquakes and low-frequency events continue to jolt Taal Volcano, The Philippine Star reported.

Phivolcs said in its 8 a.m. bulletin that the Philippine Seismic Network has plotted three earthquakes that registered at magnitudes M1.7 to M2.1 with one felt event at Intensity III (weak) for the past 24 hours.

Earthquakes are among the indicators that magma is moving or rising toward the surface.

The Taal Volcano Network, which can record smaller tremors, recorded 123 volcanic earthquakes including three low-frequency events.

“These earthquakes signify magmatic activity beneath the Taal edifice that could lead to eruptive activity at the main crater,” Phivolcs said.

Taal Volcano’s sulfur dioxide emission rose in the past 24 hours. Sulfur dioxide level is used as a parameter to assess the movement of magma toward the volcano’s surface.

State volcanologists said the sulfur dioxide emission was measured at an average of 64 tons per day. During the eruptive days of Taal, the sulfur dioxide levels reached around 4,000 to 5,000 tons per day.

“Activity in the main crater in the past 24 hours has been characterized by moderate to voluminous emission of white to dirty white steam-laden plumes 600 to 800 meters tall that drifted northeast,” Phivolcs said.

Taal was downgraded from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 Sunday, which means there is a “decreased tendency toward hazardous eruption.”

But Phivolcs warned that sudden steam-driven and even weak phreatomagmatic explosions, volcanic earthquakes, ashfall and lethal volcani gas expulsions can still occur.

Gaea Katreena Cabico

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