Menacing Volcano Threatens the Philippines

UPDATED JAN. 17, 2020

Above all, more than 500,000 inhabitants of the avoidance zone around the Taal’s well of lava are watching and waiting in dreaded apprehension. The 1911 Taal eruption killed 1,335 people. Furthermore, it spread ash fall as far away as Manila, 40 miles away. The 1965 Taal Volcano eruption, killed 200 with rock fragments, thick ashfall, and acid rain.

On Sunday January 12, 2020, the Taal volcano, located in southern Luzon, about 40 miles south of Manila, erupted. The fountain of liquid magma has erupted 33 times since 1572—as late as 1977, according to PHIVOLCS.

First of all, the erupting Taal Volcano in Batangas province is almost 400 kilometers, 250 miles, from our island home province of Guimaras. That’s approximately the distance from Chicago, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri, as the crow flies. The volcano’s recent eruption has made news headlines all across the globe.

Equipped for danger. Taal can deliver each of the deadliest volcanic risks: tsunamis, mud flows, and super heated streams of gas and garbage.

Therefore, we’ve heard from concerned friends in the States. We appreciate their concern, but we’re in no immediate danger at this time.

We’re in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. The volcano is located in the Luzon region, north of us. The Mindanao region is to the south of us. While we’re certainly not in danger from any lava flow or volcanic tsunami, volcanic ash could still reach our location.

While no volcanic ash has reached us from the earlier eruption last Sunday, January 12, 2020, we’re still closely monitoring the situation.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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.

TAAL VOLCANO BULLETIN 17 January 2020 8:00 A.M.

From the PHIVOLCs website: Activity in the Main Crater in the past 24 hours has been characterized by steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions that generated dark gray ash plumes 100 to 800 meters tall and dispersed ash southwest to west of the Main Crater.

Existing fissures identified in barangays of Lemery, Agoncillo, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas Province have been observed to widen by a few centimeters. A steaming fissure has been newly observed on the northern slopes of Taal Volcano Island. Receding of the shoreline has been observed around the whole of Taal Lake.

The Philippine Seismic Network plotted a total of six hundred thirty-four (634) volcanic earthquakes since 1:00 PM, January 12, 2020. One hundred seventy-four (174) of these registered at magnitudes M1.2 – M4.1 and were felt at Intensities I – V.

Since 5:00 AM on January 16, 2020 until 5:00 AM today, there were sixty-five (65) volcanic earthquakes plotted, two (2) of these registered at magnitudes M1.3 -M3.1 and were both felt at Intensity I.

The Taal Volcano Network recorded nine hundred forty-four (944) volcanic earthquakes including twenty-nine (29) low-frequency earthquakes. Such intense seismic activity likely signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity.

Prolonged exposure to ashfall is extremely harmful. Alert Level 4 is still in effect as this post goes to press.

Taal is the second most active volcano in the Philippines. Mayon, in SE Luzon is the most active.

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.