The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Thursday elevated Taal Volcano’s status to alert level 1 and observed that was at an “abnormal condition.”
PHIVOLCS reminded the public in an advisory that the volcano’s main crater continued to be “strictly off-limits for sudden steam explosions might occur and high concentrations of lethal volcanic gases can be released.”
PHIVOLCS supplemented that the whole volcano island is a “permanent danger zone (PDZ), and permanent settlement in the island is strongly not recommended.”
“The northern portion of the Main Crater rim, in the vicinity of Daang Kastila Trail, can also become hazardous when fumarolic or degassing activity along existing fissures suddenly increases,” it added.
The agency supposedly raised the alert level after having recorded around 50 volcanic earthquakes in the area since March 22.
“This recent earthquake swarm may indicate rock-fracturing beneath the edifice possibly associated with hydrothermal activity,” PHIVOLCS said.
PHIVOLCS also added the changes in ground distortion, where there was slight inflation in the volcanic edifice that started January this year.
Observed as well was a slight increase in the input of volcanic carbon dioxide from the hydrothermal system into the lake.
PHIVOLCS cited alert level 2 may be raised if it recorded 100 volcanic earthquakes in a time period. Alert level 1 was last raised up in 2013.