Report on Taal (Philippines) — 12 February-18 February 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 February-18 February 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Taal (Philippines). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 February-18 February 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.002°N, 120.993°E; summit elev. 311 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 14 February PHIVOLCS lowered the Alert Level for Taal to 2 (on a scale of 0-5) noting a decline in the number of volcanic earthquakes, stabilizing ground deformation of the caldera and Volcano Island, and diffuse steam-and-gas emission that continued to rise no higher than 300 m above the main vent during the past three weeks. During 14-18 February sulfur dioxide emissions ranged from values below detectable limits to a high of 58 tonnes per day (on 16 February). According to the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) there were a total of 5,321 people in 21 evacuation centers, and an additional 195,987 people were staying at other locations as of 19 February. PHIVOLCS recommended no entry onto Volcano Island.
Geologic Background. Taal is one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines and has produced some of its most powerful historical eruptions. Though not topographically prominent, its prehistorical eruptions have greatly changed the landscape of SW Luzon. The 15 x 20 km Talisay (Taal) caldera is largely filled by Lake Taal, whose 267 km2 surface lies only 3 m above sea level. The maximum depth of the lake is 160 m, and several eruptive centers lie submerged beneath the lake. The 5-km-wide Volcano Island in north-central Lake Taal is the location of all historical eruptions. The island is composed of coalescing small stratovolcanoes, tuff rings, and scoria cones that have grown about 25% in area during historical time. Powerful pyroclastic flows and surges from historical eruptions have caused many fatalities.