Public warned vs. continued degassing in Taal Volcano

2024 June 24

MANILA – The head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) on Monday advised the public to refrain from entering the Taal Volcano Island, a permanent danger zone, as the volcano continues to emit gases.

“Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is the gas that we can smell. There are other gases that are also dangerous that we might not be able to detect like carbon dioxide which in large quantities can displace air and asphyxiate,” Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol told the Philippine News Agency.

On Saturday, Phivolcs reported that degassing activity was monitored at the main crater from 1:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. It generated thick plumes reaching 2,400 meters high.

Taal Volcano has been degassing significant volumes of gas since March 2021, the Phivolcs said.

Degassing occurs when volcanic materials come into contact with water, creating steam and volcanic gases.

“Rain in the Taal area last week increased steam emissions, as rainwater seeped into the volcanic system and quickly turned into steam,” Bacolcol said.

He also noted that the steam contains SO2 which is acidic and could irritate the respiratory system.

Taal Volcano has been on Alert Level 1 since July 2022, which means there is an ongoing low level of unrest. 

Ma. Cristina Arayata (PNA)