WATCH Taal volcano in the Philippines releasing massive plume of steam & ash during first eruption in decades

The Philippines’ Taal volcano has erupted, spewing a large column of steam and ash some 100 meters high. The increased activity of the fiery mountain prompted local authorities to raise its threat level twice in one hour.

The eruption began on Sunday and was caught on video by numerous bystanders, as well as surveillance cameras used to monitor the volcano. While Taal has been quiet since 1977, when the last major eruption occurred, it has been exhibiting increased seismic activity over the past few years.

The complex volcano rises from the waters of its namesake lake, featuring a number of craters. Its largest crater has a small lake of its own.

FILE PHOTO. Aerial view of Taal volcano.

© Wikipedia / TheCoffee (Mike Gonzalez)

The initial eruption is described as phreatic – meaning it occurs when heated magma evaporates ground or surface water.

The plume darkened shortly afterwards, indicating that the steam was joined by actual volcanic ash.

The spike in the mountain’s activities prompted the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) to upgrade its threat level twice within an hour. The alert level skyrocketed from ‘abnormal’ to ‘magmatic unrest,’ suggesting that the volcano might even spew some lava.

The Taal belongs to the so-called ‘Decade Volcanos’ – 16 mountains known for violent and deadly eruptions in the past and therefore considered worthy of close study and monitoring. The greatest recorded eruption of the Taal occurred back in 1754 and lasted for nearly eight months.

The deadliest eruption occurred in 1911, claiming the lives of over 1,300 people and effectively wiping out all human settlements on the volcanic island.

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© ProtecciónCivilSeguridad / Twitter @CNPC_MX
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