Taal Volcano erupts in Philippines (1 Viewer)


Mike S

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From CNN.com....

Taal Volcano in the Philippines has sent an eruption plume a kilometer above the crater, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

The agency says Taal is showing a "fast escalation" in volcanic activity and could erupt lava within weeks.

Evacuation orders have been ordered for three towns in Batangas, Luzon, according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines. Flights have been disrupted at Manila International Airport.
Some pictures in the link below

 

Mike S

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More information from Reuters

MANILA (Reuters) - A volcano near the Philippines capital spewed ash up to nine miles into the sky on Sunday, prompting the evacuation of thousands of people, the cancellation of flights and warnings of a possible explosive eruption and volcanic tsunami.
To put this in perspective, the stratosphere is 6 miles high. I would imagine a large enough explosion could have an impact on climate, at least regionally.
 

bjdeming

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Here's a post from volcanologist Eric Klemetti on it. And some useful information links for background and latest news (in English):
  • The Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program page on Taal
  • The PHIVOLCS page on Taal
  • PHIVOLCS bulletins (include other volcanoes besides Taal, so scroll down -- the last one at this time is from 7:30 p.m., when they raised the alert level)
  • Local news: the Manila Times, which is giving this eruption prominence
  • Oregon State University's page on Taal has some interesting images from past eruptions, too. Gives us an idea of what to expect if this escalates.
 
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bjdeming

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More information from Reuters



To put this in perspective, the stratosphere is 6 miles high. I would imagine a large enough explosion could have an impact on climate, at least regionally.
Try both hemispheres. According to this paper's text (I think you can download it at this link; if not, it's available through Google Scholar), the 1965 Taal eruption raised high-altitude sulfur aerosol levels even more in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere. That's from 1974, though, and ?? if any climate studies were done. There probably were some effects on global climate, if the aerosol increase was detectable with instruments of that era.

The very little I know about volcanoes and climate is what I could absorb from reading Clive Oppenheimer's Eruptions That Changed Shook the World. As I understand it, eruptions from Philippine and other volcanoes near the Equator tend to have global effects because they are near the Intertropical Convergence Zone and the sulfur particles disperses both north and south. Pinatubo's massive 1991 eruption really made this evident, thanks to better technology available then.

Closer to the poles, climate effects tend to stay in a single hemisphere. The 1783 Laki eruption in Iceland, for instance, was a horrific disaster for the Northern Hemisphere, but not so much for the South.
 
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bjdeming

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AFAIK, that big blast was from water/magma interactions. Magma reached the surface a little later, with some weak fountaining -- nothing like what Taal has done historically . . . yet anyway -- and apparently it's still moving in. Who knows what will happen yet.

Per today's bulletin:

After a brief waning of activity following lava fountaining at 2:49-4:28 AM today, Taal’s
eruption resumed immediately with weak sporadic lava fountaining and hydrovolcanic activity at the Main Crater that generated steam-laden plumes approximately 2km tall. New lateral vents were observed to have opened up on the northern flank where short 500m lava fountains emanate.
. . .

The Philippine Seismic Network has recorded a total of one hundred forty-four (144) volcanic earthquakes in the Taal region since 1:00 PM, January 12, 2020. Forty-four (44) of these earthquakes were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I – V in Tagaytay City; Alitagtag, Lemery, Santo Tomas, and Talisay, Batangas. Such intense seismic activity probably signifies continuous magma intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity.
I read today that one result of the Decade Volcano program, started in the 90s, is that the government banned intensive development around the volcano (a popular holiday destination). Thousands of people still needed evacuation when Taal went off, but that legislation certainly mitigated the situation.
 

bjdeming

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Just did a little more reading. If this 2013 paper's findings are correct, people had better take PHIVOLCS advice about evacuations very seriously. And the 20-plus million people within a 100-km radius had best be prepared for lots of ash fall; hopefully, such preparations won't be needed. Taal has plenty of low-level eruptions, too. But, it's always good to be prepared.
 

bjdeming

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Per the latest reports, the eruption continues, with lava fountains and lots of fissuring in nearby areas, though emissions seem weaker at the moment.

Also, I just wanted to share this because a lot of news reports refer to the volcano as small, probably because they're focusing on that central island, which is a combination of active craters, tuff rings, etc. But that's just in the middle of the caldera.

This whole video, from 2015, was filmed inside Taal Volcano -- its caldera is a little bit bigger than Taal Lake (also, changing the geography and cultural markers a bit, this video reminds me some of Lake Tuscaloosa. Doubt they have catfish there, though.)

 

bjdeming

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Speaking of the lake, per the current PHIVOLCS bulletin (5 p.m. local time, January 16; emphasis and link added):

Volcano’s activity in the last eight (8) hours has been generally characterized by weak emission of steam-laden plumes 800 meters high from the Main Crater that drifted to the general southwest. A total of nine (9) discrete weak explosions were recorded by the Taal Volcano Network.

No additional fissures were mapped and reported. Existing ones are in the identified barangays of Lemery, Agoncillo, Talisay, and San Nicolas in Batangas Province as indicated in the January 15, 2020 5:00 PM update. Receding of Taal Lake water has been observed in Talisay, Laurel, Alitagtag and Lemery in Batangas Province.

The Philippine Seismic Network plotted a total of five hundred ninety-five (595) volcanic earthquakes since 1:00 PM, January 12, 2020. One hundred seventy-six (176) of these were felt with intensities ranging from Intensity I to V. Since 5:00 AM to 3:00 PM today, there were thirty (30) volcanic earthquakes plotted, including one (1) earthquake which was felt at Intensity I. This signifies continuous magmatic intrusion beneath the Taal edifice, which may lead to further eruptive activity.
That might not be due to drainage, since the volcanic activity has probably affected lake levels, too, and the water might reaching a new normal level in those areas.

However, the January 15th update did note that the crater lake on the island had drained. Per that paper I linked above the other day, there is a big hydrothermal reservoir down there; given that, and the absence of mention of any lava fountains in the update, we can hope that maybe this will all just settle down. But magma still seems to be moving up, they say, and water levels seem to be moving down -- a nightmarish situation. :(

All comparisons to Lake Tuscaloosa withdrawn. That was just a reminder of beautiful and quiet southern tropical-like evenings in peaceful Alabama many years ago, suggested by a few moments in a video taken on a lake on the other side of the world that might or might not be disappearing at the moment.

Gad! The size of that lake, too!!!
 

WesL

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Speaking of the lake, per the current PHIVOLCS bulletin (5 p.m. local time, January 16; emphasis and link added):



That might not be due to drainage, since the volcanic activity has probably affected lake levels, too, and the water might reaching a new normal level in those areas.

However, the January 15th update did note that the crater lake on the island had drained. Per that paper I linked above the other day, there is a big hydrothermal reservoir down there; given that, and the absence of mention of any lava fountains in the update, we can hope that maybe this will all just settle down. But magma still seems to be moving up, they say, and water levels seem to be moving down -- a nightmarish situation. :(

All comparisons to Lake Tuscaloosa withdrawn. That was just a reminder of beautiful and quiet southern tropical-like evenings in peaceful Alabama many years ago, suggested by a few moments in a video taken on a lake on the other side of the world that might or might not be disappearing at the moment.

Gad! The size of that lake, too!!!
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE your updates? They are so informative and go into amazing detail. Thank you for sharing.
 

bjdeming

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Thank you, WesL. Information about such things is kind of my personal thing that I like to write about, and I never ever mean to offend anyone.

That said, these updates of mine don't amount to a hill of beans.

Taal, right now, is showing why it's so hard to manage volcano emergencies. Here's a new story from Nature that sums up the present danger. During quiet phases like this one, it's so difficult for experts to maintain the sense of crisis that makes people work to stay safe. Unfortunately, they can't see the "storms" building underneath the ground and phrases like "low-frequency earthquakes" as mentioned in today's PHIVOLCS bulletin don't mean anything to most of us.

To people who know what they signify -- magma movement -- they're scary, especially in light of the disappearance of parts of a nearby river and a significant drop in Taal Lake's level (looks like a few feet in this heartwarming video of a gutsy but thoroughly irresponsible move by PETA).

All that water down there and perhaps even more trickling in; all that inflowing magma -- scary. Over the last 24 hours, PHIVOLCS recorded almost 450 quakes -- the ground underneath the surface of Taal is jumping.

But perhaps the worst case scenario wouldn't even be a massive hydromagmatic eruption that reshapes the southwestern Luzon landscape (that's how the GVP describes the effects of some of Taal's past events) -- well, yes, that would be the worst. But just as bad IMO would be if Taal settles down for now and everybody loses faith in the volcanologists because of their gloomy, but very sensible and realistic, concerns and stops listening to them, only to blame then when the next big tragedy comes.

Volcanology and emergency management are jobs that take nerves of steel, hides of leather, and caring for people enough to want to save us in spite of ourselves.
 

Tennie

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For those of you who want some more useful information on Tall, I recommend the blog Volcano Cafe. They already have several articles on this particular volcano.

Here's one that I recommend for some useful background information:


And here's their articles (as of this post) detailing the current unrest:




I also recommend checking out the comments in all the above-mentioned articles as well.
 

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