MANILA – Taal Volcano has been emitting excessive quantities of sulfur dioxide (SO2) over the past 24 hours, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Thursday.
On July 14, an average of 3,755 tonnes of SO2 were recorded. However, the figure is lower than the average of 4,184 tonnes and 6,134 tonnes recorded on July 13 and July 12, respectively.
According to the Department of Health, prolonged SO2 exposure can cause sore throats and difficulty in breathing.
On July 14, the steam-rich plumes reached a height of 1,800 meters.
In the last 24 hours, at least 17 volcanic earthquakes have been recorded as a result of movements or eruptions of magma from the volcano. There were 16 volcanic tremors lasting from 1 to 36 minutes, as well as one low frequency volcanic quake.
Despite being minor, the volcanic earthquakes recorded are slightly more than the six volcanic quakes the previous day.
The Taal Volcano is still on alert level 3 (magmatic unrest), as there is magmatic intrusion at its major crater, which could trigger succeeding eruptions.
Entry into Taal Volcano Island and the high-risk barangays in Agoncillo and Laurel towns, according to Phivolcs, must be prohibited due to the dangers of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami if large eruptions occur.
Meanwhile, residents near Taal Lake coasts are encouraged to take preventive measures against possible airborne ash and volcanic smog (vog) and to calmly prepare for possible evacuation if unrest worsens.
According to the United States Geological Survey, vog is a health threat since it aggravates pre-existing respiratory diseases.