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12 Jan, 2020 11:10

Philippine Institute of Volcanology & Seismology raises Taal Volcano alert level to ‘hazardous eruption imminent’

Philippine Institute of Volcanology & Seismology raises Taal Volcano alert level to ‘hazardous eruption imminent’

The Philippines’ Taal Volcano has received the fourth out of five alert levels, now standing at ‘hazardous eruption imminent’. The Taal has emitted a massive column of steam and ash, prompting evacuation of nearby settlements.

The volcano erupted on Sunday, emitting a large column of steam and smoke, and subjecting the surroundings to a heavy ashfall.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has revised the alert level of the volcano several times through the day, and currently it stands at level four – out of five possible – ‘hazardous eruption imminent’. The institute said two volcanic earthquakes have been registered, while volcanic tremor persisted since 0300 am GMT.

Earlier, Manila international airport has suspended flights over the eruption of the Taal volcano, located some 55 km to the south.

"Flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been temporarily suspended due to the volcanic ash from the eruption of Taal Volcano," the Manila International Airport Authority stated.

The eruption prompted the evacuation of some 8,000 people living in the immediate vicinity of the restless hill, which is located on an island in the waters of its namesake lake. People living in the communities on the shores of Taal Lake have been warned that the seismic activity could trigger potentially hazardous high waves.

Heavy ashfall was recorded in the province of Cavite – located between the volcano and the capital city of Manila – prompting authorities to suspend classes at all levels on Monday. Affected residents are urged to stay indoors, and to use dust masks and goggles if going outside is an absolute necessity.

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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.

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