Philippines’ Taal Volcano belches LAVA, as locals brace for ‘hazardous eruption’ & ‘volcanic tsunami’ (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Taal Volcano in the Philippines has coated its surroundings with ash, shutting down businesses and public places. An alert warning that a ‘hazardous eruption’ is ‘imminent’ remains in place.

Authorities say it could occur “within hours or days.” The volcano, located some 70km (44 miles) south of the capital Manila, spewed lava early on Monday. There was a brief respite from activity immediately after the lava release, but Taal continued erupting later in the day.

Sporadic “lava fountaining” and releases of steam continued throughout Monday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said. The volcano has also opened a handful of new lateral vents in the northern part of its main crater.

The Taal’s first eruption in decades began on Sunday, when the volcano produced a large column of steam, followed by massive ash emissions. The eruption created a menacing-looking cloud of ash which has been repeatedly hit by volcanic lightning.

The eruption caused a massive ash fall which affected the areas lying primarily to the north of the volcano. The ash cloud caused a temporary shutdown of Manila’s international airport and cancellation of at least 240 domestic and international flights.

Residents living near the erupting Taal Volcano evacuate in Agoncillo, Batangas City, Philippines on January 13, 2020.


© Reuters / Eloisa Lopez

The ashfall also prompted the closure of schools and businesses on Monday, while citizens were urged to stay at home and wear masks and dust goggles if going outside was a must. In some areas the ash fall was followed by rain which turned the ash into thick mud, hampering relief and evacuation efforts. So far, about 8,000 people have been evacuated from the communities in the immediate vicinity.

Ashfall after the eruption of the Taal volcano is seen in Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines January 13, 2020.


© Reuters / Jerome Austria Abuan

While most of the initial ash has largely settled, the ongoing eruptions continue to produce new emissions. The ash, however, appeared to be heading in a new direction on Monday, and heavy ash fall has been reported to the southwest of the volcano.

The alert level, raised by the PHIVOLCS several times throughout Sunday, remains at level four – out of a possible five. The eruption also prompted a tsunami alert, which also remains in place. The volcano is located in the middle of its namesake lake, and shore communities have been warned about the potential emergence of hazardous waves due to volcanic tremors.

Residents look at the erupting Taal Volcano in Tagaytay City, Philippines on January 13, 2020.


© Reuters / Eloisa Lopez

The Taal might not look very imposing – it’s one of the world’s smallest volcanoes – but it is one of the so-called Decade Volcanoes. There are only 16 such volcanoes around the globe boasting such a designation, meaning they are known for violent and deadly eruptions and are therefore worthy of close monitoring and study. The last major eruption of the Taal Volcano occurred in 1977, while the deadliest one recorded happened in 1911, killing over 1,300 people and destroying all the settlements on the island.

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