The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology on Friday downgraded the status of Taal Volcano from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 because of its “decreased unrest.”
“Alert Level 2 means there is decreased unrest but should not be interpreted that unrest has ceased or that the threat of an eruption has disappeared,” the agency said in its 8 a.m. bulletin.
“Should an uptrend or pronounced change in monitored parameters forewarn a potential eruption, the alert level may be raised back to Alert Level 3.”
Meanwhile, the number of families taking shelter in evacuation centers following the eruption of Taal Volcano on January 12 had declined to 3,002, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported Friday.
In its update, the council said this was equivalent to 11,013 people, or lower than the 4,263 families or 15,295 individuals reported on Thursday.
These families remain in 76 evacuation centers, which also declined from Thursday’s figure of 105.
Despite the downgrade, people still living within the high-risk areas who have returned after the downgrade to Alert Level 2 must, therefore, be prepared for a quick and organized evacuation, Phivolcs said.
“Conversely, should there be a persistent downtrend in monitored parameters after a sufficient observation period, the alert level will be further be lowered to Alert Level 1,” the agency said
Since Jan. 26, the Taal Volcano Network recorded an average of 141 volcanic earthquakes per day, but the number of significant events recorded by the Philippine Seismic Network across the Taal Region declined to 127 events of magnitudes 1.4 to 4.3.
“The number and energy of tremor and low-frequency events associated with activity in the shallow magma and hydrothermal region beneath the Taal Volcano island edifice have also diminished,” Phivolcs said.
It cited a weakly degassing shallow magma source, diminished plume activity or absorption of volcanic gas by a recovering lake at the main crater and by the Taal Volcano island’s recovering hydrothermal system.
“Activity in the main crater has been characterized by the generation of weak steam-laden plumes, consistent with decreased magmatic unrest,” the agency said
Still, the Department of Science and Technology-Phivolcs recommended that entry into the island and Taal’s permanent danger zone must be strictly prohibited. With PNA