Taal Volcano’s Giant Ash Column Pushes Residents to Evacuate Homes, DOH Issues Health Advisory For Ashfall
Volcanic lightning has started taking place at Taal Volcano, caused by a surge in electric discharge from the volcanic eruption.
Taal Volcano, located in Batangas, Philippines, started spewing ash earlier today, January 12, at 2 p.m. An ash column one-kilometer-high can be seen from Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas. Citizens have also reported the strong smell of sulfur throughout the three provinces. Ashfall is reported to have reached as far as Parañaque.
Following the phreatic or stream-driven explosion, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the Alert Level 2, or “increasing unrest” at 2:30 p.m. This was later raised to Alert Level 3 at 4 p.m. due to “magmatic unrest.” At 7:30 p.m. the alert level was raised to a Level 4, meaning that "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days."
Phivolcs explained that the active volcano’s main crater “has escalated its eruptive activity, generating an eruption plume one-kilometer-high, accompanied by volcanic tremor and felt earthquakes.”
Evacuations are underway for the closest and most high-risk neighborhoods near Taal, namely Balete, San Nicolas, Talisay, Laurel, and Agoncillo in Batangas.
The Department of Health has also issued a health advisory for those exposed to the ashfall.
Heavy traffic is taking place on SLEX's northbound route as citizens rush away from the eruption. The roads exiting Tagaytay are also said to be clogged. Meanwhile, all flights at Manila International Airport have been suspended until further notice due to the eruption.
Despite being a popular tourist spot, Taal volcano is an active volcano. Its last eruption was in 1977. The volcano has experienced a number of volcanic earthquakes and seismic activity since then, but the most recent development is the most active the volcano has been in decades.
Taal is a complex volcano as its crater is located in the middle of a lake, in the middle of an island, in the middle of the larger Taal Lake, which is bordered by the provinces of Batangas and Cavite.
See more photos of the ash column down below: